Garmin-Sharp cyclist Andrew Talansky of the United States ended his Tour de France stint today before the start of Stage 12. The decision to abandon the tour came after Talansky had a tough day Wednesday, struggling through pain and ailments and barely finishing Stage 11 within the time limit. Prior to that, Talansky was involved in two crashes in previous stages, both of which left his body with multiple contusions, including acute sacroiliitis, a condition that team physician Kevin Sprouse says makes it painful for the Talansky to pedal. Sprouse also revealed Talansky is battling an upper-respiratory infection.

But Talansky’s determination to stay in the race Wednesday earned the 25-year-old rider respect from Tour de France enthusiasts around the world, who tipped their virtual hats to him for showing unbelievable amounts of grit and heart in a very tough situation.

Despite his multitude of physical problems, the decision to leave was not an easy one for the passionate Talansky, who said via his team’s Web site that he was “heartbroken” about his Tour ending. He wrote:

“I built my season around the Tour, and the team has supported me every step of the way. I had hoped the rest day would allow some time to recover from my crashes. I was hopeful that I could get through yesterday (Wednesday) and I tried to be there for the team, the way they have been there for me this whole time. But it proved to be too much. I wanted the team to keep up the fight for the stage, and in turn for them, I wanted to fight to the finish. It’s been hard for me personally with the crashes but I’m really proud of how we rode together here. These guys are so strong and there is so much more they can do over the rest of the Tour. I’ll go home now and rest and recover but I will be watching from there and cheering for my team every day.”


Meanwhile, the Tour went on today, as Stage 12 started in Bourg-en-Bresse and continued through the picturesque Beaujolais valley and its peaks to Saint-Etienne. Norwegian rider Alexander Kristoff of Team Katusha won the stage, but the sprinter, who’s after the green jersey and not the yellow, did not make an impact on the overall contender rankings. The yellow jersey will continue to adorn the back of Astana Pro Team’s Vincenzo Nibali of Italy going into Friday’s Stage 13.