Pretty good post. I'm a Talansky fan, before the Dauphine and I'll buy this one.Although I am not awed by Talansky finishing the stage (I certainly pulled for him during the Dauphine) I think a few here are missing the point as to why he finished and as to why it was important to him as a rider. The article actually got this part right, at least.
It's not about perseverance now. It's about the future.
If you climb off your bike when things are tough, ONCE, then the next time it just gets a little bit easier to climb off again. Then, that internal dialogue you have with yourself when you are suffering in a break or on a climb or in brutal cross winds, that inner voice telling you to just ease off for a moment, to sit up, to let the gap open wins. You start listening to your legs.
Once you do that your career is over. Once that voice gains a foothold in your head you start drifting backwards and start finding yourself further and further from the podium because it became just too easy to stop the pain by giving in, even a little.
A quick anecdote.
We have a race here with a final climb that finishes at just above 3200m. The climb is over 50km long. It is brutal in places and get hardest above 2000m where it constantly pitches into double digits.
In my last year of racing and running a team I was feeling pretty crappy before this race and so decided to drive the team car and hand my numbers off to a buddy from the industry who wanted to do the race but hadn't registered. I'm white, he's white, he wasn't going to finish on the podium so we figured no one would notice or care.
So we were above 2400m and I was parked in the last feed zone feeding our guys. The main bunch and the various stragglers had all gone by when my friend comes into view, obviously suffering, and comes to a stop behind our team car. He told me he was done.
I said ok and took his bike from him. Then I asked him a question. I asked, "Later, what story do you want to tell?"
He said, "What?"
I asked, "Tomorrow, what story do you want to tell? Do you want to tell the story of getting into the team car or the one about the epic ride to the finish and how much you suffered to get there?"
He climbed back on his bike.
He still thanks me to this day.
That's why Talansky needed to finish. If this guy is ever going to be a real tour contender he needed to finish the stage. It needed to be the team doctor telling him not to start the next day, not the voice in his head.