“I was really pleased with the win on Wednesday. “ said David Tanner in an understated manner this morning as he was getting ready to go on a training ride. The 25-year old on the Fly V Australia made his way into two breaks, worked hard on each of them and topped it off with a win at stage 1 of the Larry H Miller Tour of Utah. The 85.2 miles (137.1 km) stage included four climbs for a total of 6,400 feet of climbing with a flat finish in Research Park.
He added. “Firstly because of the altitude, secondly of those big hills, the way that I raced with it I was happy. I’d probably rate it as the happiest win I had this year that’s for sure.”
After the race on Wednesday, Fly V Australia DS Henk Vogels commented, “He had a massive day, he was in every breakaway and managed to win and make it look easy, he’s pretty good at that.”
Tanner also took hold of the orange XO Communications Sprinter jersey, which he has been wearing since then. “No not really.” replied Tanner when asked if other riders were fighting for points. “I think Taylor Phinney went for one of the bonus sprints the other, the race has been sorting it out naturally.”
The quiet Australian is being modest. He made sure to be in the right split at the right time and he picked up more points on stage 2.
With two stages to go, Tanner leads the sprint competition with a 6-point lead on Phinney, and 8-point lead on Phinney’s teammate Alex Dowsett (Trek-LIVESTRONG).
“Tonight might change, maybe people will go for some sprints but I think by the sounds of it, it’s a hard circuit, the race will probably take care of itself once again.” said Tanner.
Smashfest. The racing continues with the tough 75-minute Park City Criterium, a crit in name only with its 1-mile course includes a leg busting 12% climb, all raced at over 7000 feet above sea level.
With two riders – Darren Lill and Phil Zajicek - fighting for GC, can Fly V Australia focus their efforts on two fronts, fight for GC and defend the orange?
“It’s a good opportunity for us tonight to take a shot at GC. Levi is a pretty incredible rider so you don’t want to leave it to the last day. On a hard crit like today, with the team that we have we definitely going to play for GC but that said Tanner is probably our best crit rider. I think we can ambitious about both goals without sacrificing one or the other but definitely GC is our ultimate.” answered Fly V Australia DS Ed Beamon.
Tanner is on board with the plan. “Naturally the race should take care of it, tonight will be decisive for us because obviously GC could be played out tonight. First things first, make sure our GC guys are okay and looked after and if the stage is available I’ll definitely go for it if I’m feeling good again.”
How hard is the crit? “I think it’s going to be a smashfest and twenty people will finish.” laughed Beamon.
Talented allrounder. This is the first year of real racing in America for Tanner. He spent 7 years racing in France with amateur teams such as Châteauroux, Roubaix, and VC La Pomme. He signed up as a stagiaire with Barloworld in 2008, but then disaster struck at the Tour du Gévaudan.
“At the end of September I broke my leg, back and collarbone. That stopped any chances of progressing from there. “ he explained. “One thing lead to another and I ended with Rock Racing last year and that was disastrous as everyone knows. Everything happens for a reason and I ended on this team, it’s all ended good and everyone is happy.”
He’s back on form now. “I feel really good. I seem to have gotten better and better this year.” Taking a break after Tour de Beauce where he outsprinted Yuri Metlushenko in a bunch sprint for the win. He then went on to race Cascade Cycling Classic, Tour of Elk Grove and now Tour of Utah.
“At Cascade I was a lot better than I thought I’d be there. I trained well before that but I hadn’t raced that much so I didn’t know what to expect, I just kept a head on m shoulders and trained pretty well, yeah my form is still getting better and better.”
He can sprint, he can climb. “I’ve always been the same, I fall into all categories and that’s why I think fit in this team really well. When I get my chance, normally I can finish it off. I can help the GC guys in the mountains to a certain extent, my prologue has improved a lot this year, that’s good.”
But he admits a weakness for longer time trials however. “I seem to be better with those and that’s something I’ll address with my coach in a time to come.”
Beamon concluded. “I think we all agree and Henk feels really strongly about this, David might be the best potential ProTour rider that we have on this squad. He’s very very serious, dedicated, meticulous not only in his training but his relationship with his bike, position, all aspects of preparation he’s really a consummate professional. He’s also got incredible talent, he’s good at so many different things.”
“Definitely, it’s there so I’ll have a go.” Cracking a smile, Tanner said about defending the jersey tonight. “At the moment, I feel really good.”
Let’s see what happens in tonight’s smashfest.