Former Lees-McRae student and standout racer Andrew Talansky has his eyes set on a yellow jersey in this year’s running of the Tour de France that got underway on Saturday.
Talansky, a native of Miami, Florida, raced one year at Lees-McRae, and as a freshman, won the National Collegiate Road Race Championship.
After that, it was time for a big step up in competition, heading to Europe to compete with the best road racers in the world.
First off, Talansky won the National U-23 Time Trial Championship in 2010 before embarking on his racing career overseas.
Talansky finished second overall in the 2010 Tour de I’Avenir in France, third overall in Ronde De I’Isard and 10th overall in the Giro della Valle d’Aosta in Italy. After that, Talansky returned to the United States to place sixth in the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico.
In 2012, Talansky won his first European race in the Tour de I’Ain, a four-day race in France. The rest of the year featured a second place, a seventh place and a pair of eighth place finishes at various races in Spain, Switzerland and France.
Talansky competed in his first Tour de France last year, the most prestigious road race in the world. Talansky finished 10th overall and was the highest finishing American racer.
In one of the biggest tune-up races for the Tour de France, Talansky won three weeks ago over three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador and defending Tour winner Chris Froome. The race consisted of eight stages from June 8-15 and covered almost 740 miles. Talansky completed the race in a time of 31 hours, eight minutes and eight seconds.
The 2014 Tour de France runs from July 5-27 and will feature 21 stages of everything from flat land racing to grueling mountain climbs and fast downhill descents as it does each year.
*Nathan Ham can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87