Tour De France 2013: How the American Riders Have Fared so Far

Thomas CooperFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2013

Tejay van Garderen has had an underwhelming 2013 Tour de France overall, but did manage to form part of Stage 14's break-away, as pictured here.
Tejay van Garderen has had an underwhelming 2013 Tour de France overall, but did manage to form part of Stage 14's break-away, as pictured here.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The wait is ongoing for a home rider to win a stage at this year's edition of the Tour de France—as it also is for those representing the United States in the peloton.

Neither country is alone in this disappointment, but both will be among the notable national contingents keen to put that right in the race's final week.

The biggest American success in the first couple of weeks was for one of the country's teams.

Stage Nine saw Team Garmin-Sharp's Dan Martin get the jump on the general classification contenders, and his fellow escapee Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), to win a thrilling descent into Bagnères-de-Bigorre.

An Irishman may have been claiming the glory, but Martin's victory was in part down to the efforts of his teammates throughout the day.

Veteran Tom Danielson was among the contributors here. Heading into Monday's second rest-day, the 35-year-old sits in 65th place.

Unremarkable though the placing may appear at first glance, it does leave Danielson just under a minute ahead of one of the discussed pre-race contenders—his teammate, 2012 Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal.

For various reasons, the Canadian has been unable to replicate his Grand Tour success from last year. Instead, along with Martin, it has been an American leading the way for Garmin-Sharp in the GC.

Andrew Talansky is currently in 13th place, 12:32 behind Maillot Jaune wearer Chris Froome. The Florida-born cyclist is enjoying a fine debut ride in a race he described on his blog at VeloNews as, "Helping me to expand my own pre-conceived limits."

Testament to those changing expectations was Talansky's self-critical analysis of a Stage 14 performance that saw him finish in a highly creditable third.

Among the several, successful remaining escapees, he lost out in a sprint taken by Omega Pharma-Quick-Step's Matteo Trentin. Talking to VeloNews' Matthew Beaudin afterwards, Talansky was gutted to say the least.

You don’t get that many—I mean, hopefully, many more are going to come—but each year you don’t get that many opportunities to win a stage at the Tour de France. I felt like I could have started sprinting a little earlier and given myself a chance to win.

Talansky is almost certain to get more opportunities in this famous race. Despite Saturday's "disappointment," he showed his stuff again with a commendable 25th place finish on Sunday's torturous assault on Mont Ventoux.

Also likely to return is Tejay van Garderen, despite having what has, so far, been an underwhelming Tour de France for him and his BMC Racing team.

Van Garderen was part of Saturday's break-away, too, but suffered mightily on the Ventoux a day later, eventually finishing almost half hour off the pace.

After a fifth place finish saw him win the young rider classification at the 2012 Tour, van Garderen has not come close to troubling the top 10 this time around.

Pre-race expectation revolved around whether he would replace former winner Cadel Evans as BMC's chief contender. The Australian has toiled, but his class has shown as he has remained in the race's leading group of 20.

As it stands, van Garderen (currently 47th) is a full hour off the pace. He and his teammate Brent Bookwalter (82nd) are at least still flying the flag for the US as the race enters its final week.

The same cannot be said for the unfortunate Ted King (Cannondale) and Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp).

Having already suffered a separated shoulder, King narrowly finished outside the time limit on Stage Four's team time trial, bringing an abrupt end to his first Tour.

Particularly galling was the fact his parents had traveled to France to watch him. As he told CyclingNews' Stephen Farrand:

I wanted to race for them, and it's tough not being able to. They're so tremendously supportive. So is the team, they understand and know that all I want to do is race.

Two crashes in the opening week put an end to Vande Velde's final Tour de France. The second fall on Stage Six exacerbated injuries caused by the first, leaving him unable to continue.

The Americans still making their way to Paris will be hoping similar misfortune does not befall them with the race's finish so tantalizingly close.