Andrew Talansky won the Tour de l’Ain at 23, he finished top 10 at the Tour de France in 2013, he won the Criterium du Dauphine in 2015. In 2016 he was fifth at the Vuelta. In what was a bit of down year for him, he won stage five of the Tour of California. He’s just 28 and that resumé indicates a man that has grand tour winning potential, not a man that’s ready to call it quits– yet Talansky announced his retirement in September. But, that didn’t last long.

PELOTON / Images: Jay Prasuhn

Talansky has no intention of retiring from endurance sport or competition. Meet Andrew Talansky, professional triathlete.

At a relaxed lunch in Kona, Hawaii, organized by his new bike sponsor, Canyon, during Ironman World Championship week PELOTON had a chance to chat with Talansky about his abrupt change in direction. We asked him if he felt like he had unfinished business in World Tour racing. After all, a rider that can win the Dauphine usually targets a Tour de France victory.

Talansky’s answer, ‘No, absolutely not.’

While he admits he may have had bigger and better wins in him, he seemed to crave the individual nature of triathlon. He looked at all that is required of a rider trying to win a grand tour, buy in from team management, riders, equipment, sponsors, etc… and felt the time was right to move on.

You know you’re a professional triathlete when… you get your picture taken on the Kona lava with your new bike.

It’s the individual nature of the sport that holds a lot of triathlon’s appeal for Talansky. He’s excited to chose his own races and own equipment. “I want to line up with the best equipment. What I can’t be okay with is lining up against other people that have better equipment.” Talansky told us.

That led him to Canyon as bike sponsor. In the world of Ironman, recently it has been dominant with Jan Frodeno, and Talansky wanted that bike – the SpeedMax. While on Kona to watch his first Ironman World Championship Talansky is using the time to round out his team – looking for wheel and component sponsors, a coach, as well as new things to him, like running shoes and swim gear.

Surprisingly, Talansky never spoke in person with Cannondale-Drapac Team Manager Jonathan Vaughters about his plans, despite the fact that Talansky knew back in the spring he was leaving the team, although Vaughters has been supportive of the decision on social media.

Beyond the team logistics and wanting a new challenge, the risk of professional cycling on the World Tour played a big role in Talansky’s decision to leave bike racing.

“I have a family now, a seven month old son. I never enjoyed the risk of the sport. Your fate is in the hands of the 150 riders that are with you. I didn’t enjoy that fact at all. Sometimes you’re sitting there and you say, ‘This is insane!’ I’m sure the other guys think the same thing too,” says Talansky.

The Canyon press release says Talansky is going back to his roots of running and swimming, but those roots are quite distant. The last time he swam competitively was his Freshman year of high school, and he did’t run competitively after high school. In fact, he’s never done a triathlon before or run a marathon, but he plans to begin at the professional level in 70.3 and full Ironman distance. Considering Talansky always felt the swim races and ‘cross country running races where never long enough for him, so Ironman felt like the right place to start.

“My whole career I’ve thought about Kona, it always fascinated me, the history, the performances that come out of it.”

Talansky thinks it will take three years to be at his best, so at 28 he doesn’t want to spend anytime coming up through the amateur age group ranks. He wants to start writing his own professional Ironman history next year. Look for Andrew Talansky, Professional Triathlete, to be on the start line of the 2018 Ironman World Championships.