Home VUELTA A ESPANA AFTER A TAXING VUELTA, CANNONDALE-DRAPAC PUTS TWO IN THE TOP 10
AFTER A TAXING VUELTA, CANNONDALE-DRAPAC PUTS TWO IN THE TOP 10 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team   
Tuesday, 20 September 2016 15:44

When the peloton arrived in Madrid after one of the hardest Vueltas in recent memory, Cannondale-Drapac had two riders inside the top 10: American Andrew Talansky and Italian Davide Formolo. The team finished third overall in the teams classification.

After a taxing Vuelta, Cannondale-Drapac puts two in top 10
 
After a taxing Vuelta, Cannondale-Drapac puts two in the top 10 
When the peloton arrived in Madrid after one of the hardest Vueltas in recent memory, Cannondale-Drapac had two riders inside the top 10: American Andrew Talansky and Italian Davide Formolo. The team finished third overall in the teams classification.
 
Talanksy finished fifth on the general classification, his best-ever finish in a grand tour. It was exactly what he set out to do: better his seventh place in the Vuelta, set in 2012.
 
“It’s a great feeling. When we made the decision to skip the Tour de France and focus on the Vuelta, we came up with that idea before the Tour of California,” Talansky said. “A lot of people questioned that, because it looked like I was riding well in Suisse. It was also putting a lot into one grand tour for the season, and really hoping that it would all come together for the Vuelta. Now, here in Madrid, it’s my best grand tour result. Fifth in the most difficult grand tour I’ve ever been a part of. I think we can all be really happy with that.”
 
Formolo also slotted into the top 10. His ninth-place finish is his highest in a grand tour. He came in with a straightforward goal.
 
“Just to do my best, you know? After the Giro, I started training really hard for this Vuelta. I am really happy now to be in the top 10, and also for working for Andrew in fifth. It was nice,” Formolo said. “I knew I didn’t have any pressure. Just stay as close to Andrew as I could.”
 
In the end, neither of them did it with flash but rather simple grit. As some faded in the final week, both Talansky and Formolo improved. Talansky moved up a spot during the individual time trial, and Formolo moved up a spot on the race’s final climb, up the Aitana.
 
Talansky was a model of consistency over the three weeks of racing, slowly moving up the general classifcation. He finished eighth up the Aubisque on stage 14, moving him into eighth, and seventh on the individual time trial on stage 19, moving him into fifth.
 
“The top four places are occupied by proven, grand tour podium contenders all supported by very strong teams. And the route this year was a very challenging route for the GC riders. All of that combined made for 21 days of very hard racing,” Talansky said.
 
For Talansky, the finish serves as a confirmation. His decision to skip the Tour de France after a less-than-ideal early season and focus on the Vuelta instead has been rewarded.
 
“I’m happy,” said head sport director Charly Wegelius. “I think it was a brave decision that Andrew took to skip the Tour. A lot of people at the time had some difficulty understanding that. It’s nice to see that paid off for him, and it’s nice to see his career has taken a step back where he deserves to be. I think it’s an important step to next season.”
 
Formolo’s Vuelta story is similar to Talansky’s in that his success was incremental and his racing calculated. From stage 11, Formolo found himself near the top 10, in 13th. He moved up to 11th after stage 14, then climbed into the top 10 on stage 15, hitting eighth on GC.
 
From there, it was about maintenance. Formolo lost time on the time trial into Calp, falling to 10th, but would get back to ninth on the final climb of the Vuelta.
 
“He didn’t drop his head after a disappointing Giro. He put is head down and kept on working. It’s nice for him to get a confirmation that his talent just didn’t disappear,” Wegelius said.
 
Through and through, the solid general classification results come as a result of a team effort. Ben King riding the break on stage 20, falling back and helping Talansky. Moreno Moser pulling stage in and out. Pierre Rolland keeping Talansky out of the wind. The directors were proud of their squad, which lost Simon Clarke after a crash on stage 10. Clarke finished the stage, in a show of loyalty and tenacity, but was forced to withdraw when it was determined he required surgery on his shoulder to fix a broken scapula, among other issues.
 
 “They all rose to the challenge in what I think is fair to say is one of the hardest Vueltas of recent times. I’d say that the place in the team competition [third] really reflects the strength of the team. It’s a testament to strength of the riders,” Wegelius said.
 
On the road, Talansky saw how strong the team was every day and is well aware that this strength gave him opportunity.
 
“You can have the best form of your life. But if you don’t have the right team to support you, you’re not going to get a chance to show it,” Talansky said. “The final selection on a stage like yesterday, stage 20, we have four guys out of less than 20, when teams like Sky and Movistar have less. That just speaks to the depth and the strength of the team.”
 
DS Bingen Fernandez, on the ground at the Vuelta, said the Vuelta success came down to smarts, too.  
 
“Apart from being strong, we were smart. I think it’s not only we rode strong, we rode smart. It’s something that makes me proud of the team. That in the right moment, we were there,” Fernandez said. “It was hard. The first part of the Vuelta, we weren’t so good. Around 15th position. But we knew we could move up. So day by day we focused on that. The Vuelta is a challenge from day one. The most challenging aspect is the entire Vuelta itself.”
 
Pierre Rolland came to Spain as a super domestique rather than team leader. He took the same joy in the task as he does chasing personal ambitions in France. 
 
“I arrived here to help Andrew first, second I tried to win a stage. I think my help is very important for him and the team,” Rolland said. “I’m very happy for his result, and the team’s. I think it’s very important. Fifth on the GC, almost every day with the GC group — it’s very good spirit for the team. With tme, Andrew, Joe, it’s very good for next year. This team is fun, no? This team is very good — it’s good work, and it’s so fun.”
 
Full text of Andrew Talansky interview
 
The preparation in the early part of the season wasn’t idea, and you had some setbacks this season. But now, you’ve arrived fifth in Madrid. How’s it feel?
 

It’s a great feeling. When we made the decision to skip the Tour de France and focus on the Vuelta, we came up with that idea before the Tour of California. A lot of people questioned that, because it looked like I was riding well in Suisse. It was also putting a lot into one grand tour for the season, and really hoping that it would all come together for the Vuelta. We had a plan. And I have to thank Jonathan Vaughters for the fact that we stuck to it, and despite him taking a lot of criticism for doing so, not putting me into the Tour. Now, here in Madrid, it’s my best grand tour result. Fifth in the most difficult grand tour I’ve ever been a part of. I think we can all be really happy with that.
 
You’ve noted how hard this Vuelta has been a few times. What has made it so rough?

To start, the level of riders. You have the same group of riders from the Tour de France, plus Alberto Contador, who left the Tour de Franc early. He came here for a little bit of redemption. Nairo Quintana, same thing. He wasn’t at his best during the Tour. I think you saw here he was back to his climbing best. And Chris Froome doesn’t show up at a race unless he’s ready to race for the win. Then you have Esteban Chavez, who’s now a consistent podium rider at grand tours. So, the top four places are occupied by proven, grand tour podium contenders all supported by very strong teams. And the route this year was a very challenging route for the GC riders. All of that combined made for 21 days of very hard racing.
 
What’s the team meant to you here?
 
You can have the best form of your life. But if you don’t have the right team to support you, you’re not going to get a chance to show it. Looking over these past three weeks… this is my eighth grand tour. The final selection on a stage like yesterday, stage 20, we have four guys out of less than 20, when teams like Sky and Movistar have less. That just speaks to the depth and the strength of the team. From day one here, in the first half of the race, I said that I’d do my best. They stayed completely committed to me when it would have been easy to say in the first half of the race it would be a tough ask to arrive in the top five in Madrid. But bit by bit we worked our way up there. I might have ended up 5th overall, but that’s only thanks to work they did over three weeks.
 
Anything else you’d like to add?

It’s really nice to finish the season on a high note like this. I think you could see there was a turning point at the Tour of California, basically. Top five in every stage race I’ve started since California. California, Suisse, Utah, and now here at the Vuelta. It’s really nice to finish the season with this. This is my last race of the year. And to carry that momentum into next season.
 
One more, then. What about next year?

The ambition coming here was to put together a really sold three weeks and I think we accomplished that. Obviously that just motivates you and makes you want more. I’ll sit down with the team and we’ll figure out what the best races are to target next season. The tour de France holds a special place for me, and there’s no doubt that I want to go to that race and again put together the three weeks I know I’m capable of and the team knows I’m capable of. But just like this year it’s all about figuring out what the best races are and how to get there.

 
 
 
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