After the departure of Andrew Talansky, Tejay van Garderen (BMC) is the USA's last GC rider standing at the 2014 Tour de France. The BMC team leader has had an up-and-down Tour thus far, but the main constant throughout van Garderen’s race has been his BMC Teammachine SLR01.
Launched in 2013 as successor to its Tour-winning predecessor, the SLR01 has won numerous friends, and glowing praise for its agility, speed and comfort, and for this reason, the BMC riders and team took the decision to favour it for this year’s cobbled stage 5 over BMC's own cobble-crusher, the GF01.
So this is van Garderen's only road bike model at this race, and it’s fitted out with a high-class, efficient and reliable component package, centred on Shimano's Di2 groupset. Following the pro’s usual sizing model, van Garderen rides a 56cm frame with 140mm, -17 degree stem, and relatively short-reach Ergonova Team carbon bars, with the Di2 shifters fitted high up on the bend for a comfortable all-day position.
BMC's proprietary Compliance Post seatpost in this instance has its maximum 30mm offset, with a Fizik Arione K3 saddle mounted well back on its carbon rails. The K3 is designed as a triathlon saddle, adding generous padding and a wider nose to the Arione's much-loved shape, and usually only appears aboard pros' bikes before Paris-Roubaix, but van Garderen must prefer it to the other options available to him.
Fizik's latest saddle range, unveiled at the Tour, features a reflective central section
The drivetrain has 53/39 rings on an SRM-specific chainset, with an 11-28 cassette out back, but no chain catcher as a front derailleur failsafe. Pedals are Dura-Ace 9000, and the favoured wheelset for most non-mountain days is Shimano's C50, shod with 25mm Continental Competition Pro Ltd tubulars, which are a very popular choice in the modern peloton.
Elite Sior carbon bottle cages are a split design that self-adjusts to allow easy bottle entry and exit, plus excellent retention. The race number board is fixed to a neat two-bolt bracket, custom made by BMC to stick on to the flattened rear of the SLR01's Compliance Post, and the SRM head unit was angled downwards, possibly to prevent distraction, or maybe that's just how Tejay likes it. Whatever the answer, the Tour's final week will be decided by a combination of watts, supreme bike control and staying power, and the SLR01 certainly has two of those in abundance.
The SLR01 has one of the best executed rear brake cable exits of any curent bike