SACRAMENTO (VN) — It’s not a secret that Andrew Talansky suffers from pollen allergies during the spring in Northern California, but no one expected to see him abandon the Amgen Tour of California midway through the first stage.
Yet that’s what happened Sunday outside of Sacramento, when the Cannondale-Garmin rider stepped off his bike and into a team car due to a respiratory infection that was likely caused by inflammation from allergies.
Talansky has suffered from allergy-induced asthma at the Amgen Tour in the past, most notably in 2012, when he lost contact with the main group early on the Mount Baldy stage. He hadn’t returned to the California race until this year, and even that was a late addition to his 2015 schedule.
But a weakened immune system from allergies quickly turned into a full-fledged respiratory virus come race day, and though he tried to ride through it, Talansky told VeloNews that it was impossible to continue.
“We hoped it was more allergy-based, given the early symptoms, the congestion, but now we definitely see that it was more serious than just allergies,” Talansky said. “It’s really disappointing, but the way things progressed during the stage, there was no change, nothing to tell me I would be able to complete the stage or continue.
Talansky consulted closely with Cannondale team doctor Prentice Steffen, before and during the stage.
“Sometimes, when you start to get something, you think it might be allergies, and then you get that nagging feeling it might be a virus,” Steffen said. “We hedged our bets, but we were prepared for either eventuality. This developed reasonably quickly, much more like a virus.”
“I had Prentice in the car, and I went back to the car numerous times during the day to discuss it with him,” Talansky said. “I was trying to push on. Some things you can push through, like crashes, and there are other times when your body just can’t do something. From the start of the stage to when I stopped, it just got progressively worse, so we made the call to stop and focus on putting this to bed, and to focus on getting 100 percent healthy. You just can’t perform until your body is fully healthy.”
Talansky said his disappointment was profound, for a number of reasons — because he is a California resident, living in nearby Napa; because he is missing a critical week of racing in his preparation for the Tour de France; and because he won’t be able to support his teammates in their bid for glory, whether that be stage hunting or putting Joe Dombrowski in position to attack on Mt. Baldy on stage 7.
“California is my adopted home state, so I was really looking forward to it,” Talansky said. “I was looking forward to all the stages, especially to the time trial, and Mt. Baldy, and to riding with the group of guys here. I was looking forward to helping out Joe Dombrowski, and to getting a week of racing in.
“I’m disappointed not to be able to be there to help the team this week, but between Joe and the whole team that’s there, there are plenty of results up for grabs. I’m disappointed I won’t be there to help, but I have every confidence that they will race their hearts out, and I believe that Joe is capable of result on Baldy, and that the every rider on that team is capable of a stage win.”