Tour de France 2020

Perfectly quiet Tour start for Andrew Talansky

The American GC rider hopes to bury some bad memories on the Planche des Belles Filles Wednesday.

It’s been a quiet few days for Andrew Talansky. Uneventful, out of the limelight, and safe. That’s just perfect.

Cannondale-Drapac’s American GC man is confident but realistic ahead of his first real test, stage 5’s category 1 uphill finish to Planche des Belles Filles.

“The whole day, on paper, is not something that suits me the best,” he said. “Kind of like early on at the Vuelta last year, it’s kind of going to be about just getting up it, point A to point B as fast as I can.”

“It’s no secret that the little 5 to 6k efforts aren’t my specialty,” he added. “So, I’ll just give what I have.”

Memories of Talansky’s last trip up Planche des Belles Filles linger, and they are not good. The steep ramp in the Vosges was effectively the end of his Tour de France in 2014, just weeks after he showed impressive form by winning the Criterium du Dauphine. “I don’t have great memories of it, honestly,” he said of the climb.

Back in 2014, Talansky crashed hard twice in as many days just before the stage to Planche des Belles Filles. When he hit the climb’s slopes and quickly slipped off the back of the favorites. He lost 10:12 that day, which fell before the first rest day, and pulled out of the race shortly after.

The leadup to the Planche has gone quite a bit better this year. Uneventful was the goal, and it’s been achieved. Talansky hasn’t crashed, hasn’t lost any big chunks of time. He dropped 25 seconds in the steep finale of stage 3 and was “suffering a little bit,” but put it down to positioning rather than form.

“We’re just getting started,” he said. “First day was an actual stage, [today], start of stage 4, we’re hardly getting into this thing. The first days of grand tours I can’t really tell anything.”

Wednesday’s tough finish is the first real test of this Tour and is quickly followed by a tough stage to Station des Rousses on Saturday. Talansky’s true form is still somewhat unknown, even to him. He expects to keep getting better as the Tour trudges on, and is focused on the bigger, more difficult stages later in the race. They suit his style better, and he’s hoping for that uptick in form.

“I’m a little low on race days, so I’m riding into it a little bit,” he said. “But so far, so good.”