CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (VN) — The stars and stripes of the U.S. national time trial champion will return to Europe in 2015 on the back of Cannondale-Garmin’s Andrew Talansky.
The 26-year-old bested a field of 21 domestic riders at the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial Championships on Saturday, covering the 19.2-mile course in 38 minutes and 48 seconds.
Talansky’s Cannondale-Garmin teammate Ben King finished second at 10 seconds slower with David Williams (Jamis-Hagens-Berman) third at 12 seconds.
The win comes on the heels of a disappointing Amgen Tour of California, where Talansky was forced to abandon during the first stage due to a lingering respiratory infection.
“I left the Tour of Californa pretty sick,” he told VeloNews.
“I stopped and just couldn’t continue. I made the decision out on the road that I wasn’t doing anyone any good even trying to make it through the rest of the stage. The good thing was that I live in Napa, which isn’t very far from Sacramento, so I went straight home.”
Asked about his recovery regime, Talansky spelled out a conservative approach.
“Basically there wasn’t much to it. I slept a lot and didn’t ride my bike for five days. You know, the main priority was getting myself healthy. I had nationals in the back of my mind, but the first priority was just getting my health back and getting back on the bike and feeling like a cyclist again.”
Talansky’s form in Chattanooga was clearly much improved.
“After a setback, especially after an illness, it’s always hard to get back on the bike,” he said. “You tool around for an hour or so and feel like a shell of your former self. But thankfully after a few days of riding everything comes back pretty quickly.
“For me the most rejuvenating thing is just being home and spending time with my wife. That helps me get things back on track.”
Talansky, who took the biggest win of his career at the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2014, told VeloNews that his nationals win now ranks right up there among his biggest moments in the sport.
“It’s totally different emotions,” he said of the two races. “I love time trials because it’s you against the clock and everything is under your control. I’m very proud of it. Winning the Dauphiné was a totally different experience. It was my first WorldTour stage race win. But together, this and the Dauphine are definitely the two highlights of my career thus far. I’m very proud of both.”
But when it came to pride, Talansky saved a heaping portion for the teammate who stood beside him on the podium.
“I have to say that being up here with Ben King is really special. I’m really proud of him and I think that we’re building some good momentum as a team for [Monday’s road race].”
Cannondale-Garmin will field the national road race’s largest contingent of WorldTour riders Monday, with Ted King, Joe Dombrowski and race favorite Alex Howes joining Talansky and King.
With the national champion’s skinsuit locked down for a year, Talansky also reflected on the opportunity to represent his nation in Europe this summer.
“Obviously I’m very, very proud to win today. I’ll have a chance to wear [the stars and stripes] at the Dauphiné first, but getting to wear this in the opening prologue of the Tour de France? That will be a huge honor. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Asked whether his planned design would mix red, white and blue with his team’s green-and-black argyle, Talansky evoked the team’s notoriously well-dressed manager.
“I’m pretty sure [Jonathan] Vaughters already has that outfit in his closet.”
Editor’s note: VeloNews’ Dan Wuori will be in Chattanooga all weekend. For updates on the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial Championships, follow Dan on Twitter at @dwuori.