LMC duo stands out on tour
by Kellen Short
Andrew Talansky, who attended Lees-McRae and lives in Banner Elk finished 10th in the race. Brent Bookwalter, a 2006 graduate of Lees-McRae, was 91st.
The 100th tour ended Sunday after 21 days of cycling, which included seven flat stages, five hilly stages and six mountain stages. The race also included two individual and one team time trial with only two rest days.
Christopher Froome of Great Britain's Sky Procycling team crossed the finish line at the Champs-lyses more than four minutes in front of the second-place finisher.
But the High Country's eyes were on Bookwalter and Talansky.
Talansky, who made his first Tour appearance this year with team Garmin-Sharp, finished 10th overall. The 24-year-old completed the ride in a time of 84 hours, 14 minutes and 19 seconds, about 17 minutes behind the race leader.
Among his best stages were stage 14, where he finished third, and stage 20, where he finished sixth, according to Garmin-Sharp.
He posted on Twitter before the final stage: "I'm a dreamer at heart and today one is coming true. Are we really going to Paris today?!"
Talansky's efforts earned him second place in the "Best Young Rider" category.
Bookwalter, 29, graduated with honors from Lees-McRae in 2006 after winning nine collegiate national titles for the college.
He finished in 86 hours, 41 minutes and 45 seconds, crossing the finish line 91st in a lineup of 169 finishers.
It was his third Tour de France appearance; his first year, he was on the team that propelled Cadel Evans to victory.
"My 3rd time riding into Paris. ... How did we make it through the past 3 weeks!? What a spectacle and true test of the body, mind, heart, soul," he Tweeted on Sunday.
Bookwalter's team, BMC Racing Team, finished 12th, one place behind Talansky's team.
Bookwalter faced an setback in the fifth stage of the race when he was caught up in an accident with several other riders. It pushed him back to 106th overall, but he managed to work his way up to 91st.