Tom Danielson: The Human Lottery Ticket

Can Garmin-Transitions' enigma deliver before time runs out?

"He's a lottery ticket. A one-in-a-million chance that could turn you into a millionaire but if don't buy the ticket you don't have a shot, right?" asks Jonathan Vaughters.

I respond with a nod and a reassuring smile. We've just had dinner in Calpe, Spain and the topic of discussion is the American cyclist Tom Danielson. The wine has been flowing, the company excellent and I can't remember how we've ended up talking about Tom Danielson.

Turn the clock back to late last summer and the Vuelta a Burgos is heating up. Danielson has just taken the overall lead after a spirited performance in the race's individual time trial. One final mountain stage is all that separates him from a surprise victory, but Alejandro Valverde is poised, threateningly, five seconds behind the Garmin rider. Can Danielson hold him off? That night I was on the phone to one of Danielson's old teammates and according to him, Danny Pate - second overall and four seconds back - has a better chance of taking the win. "Tonight Danny will be in bed by 9pm. Tom will be in bed too but he won't sleep until 2am," says the rider. "That'll be the difference. Tom will be up all night worrying and stressing."

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