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Tour de France

Talansky: ‘There will never be another first Tour’

Colorado, worlds on American's horizon after top-10 debut in France

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SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain (VN) — Andrew Talansky continues to decompress from his impressive debut at the Tour de France.

After the 24-year-old punched into the top 10 overall and finished second in the young riders’ competition, all Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) wants to do now is become reacquainted with “real life.”

“It was a strange feeling for a couple of days. You’re gone for a month and you live inside the Tour bubble,” Talansky told VeloNews. “I’ve been relaxing, going to the store to buy bread; it sounds corny, but doing normal things. So long before the Tour, I didn’t want to walk anywhere, didn’t want to do anything. Just getting to live more normally is pretty nice.”

Talansky returned to the United States last week and will reunite with family and friends he hasn’t seen in the months-long lead-up to his maiden Tour.

“In the lead up to the Tour, you have to be a little selfish and isolate yourself,” he said. “Now that the Tour’s done, my stress for the season is over. I can focus on being a good fiancé, a good friend, and doing the things I’ve neglected over the past five months.”

That doesn’t mean the “Pitbull” has stuck a fork in his 2013 season. There is still plenty of racing on his schedule, with likely starts at the USA Pro Challenge, the new Tour of Alberta, and a trip back to Europe in September for the team time trial championship ahead of the road world championships.

Everything that comes now, however, is simply a bonus. The third-year pro marked his early season with a stage win and second overall at Paris-Nice before making his notable Tour debut.

There have been plenty of high points along the way, but Talansky said hitting the Champs Élysées for the first time is something that will always stay with him.

“Riding up l’Alpe d’Huez will always be the defining moment of the Tour, but being on the Champs Élysées, and seeing the Arc de Triomphe, that was just incredible,” he said. “When you realize you’re part of the Tour, that everyone at home is watching the stage, that it’s the same stage I watched for the past seven years after I picked up the bike, realizing that I was part of that, that was pretty cool.”

Talansky rode well throughout the Tour, finishing third from the breakaway in stage 14 in Lyon, and attacked his way into the top 10 on the Semnoz climb on the penultimate stage.

He said there was barely time to reflect on what he achieved before they were on the Champs Élysées and the Tour was suddenly over.

“There was a bit of nervousness because we still had to get through the stage, but with two laps to go, there was a feeling of happiness and satisfaction,” he said. “I was trying to soak up that last 15 kilometers of the Tour and really savor it, because there will never be another first Tour.”