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Stetina forms key bond with van Garderen ahead of Tour de France

By:
Daniel Benson
Published:
June 14, 2014, 10:59 BST,
Updated:
June 14, 2014, 12:00 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, June 14, 2014
Race:
Critérium du Dauphiné
Pete Stetina swapped Garmin-Sharp argyle for BMC red and black

Pete Stetina swapped Garmin-Sharp argyle for BMC red and black

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BMC riders building form at the Critérium du Dauphiné

Peter Stetina has faith that his BMC team leader Tejay van Garderen will turn his form around for the Tour de France. Van Garderen lost time on the first mountain stage of this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné on stage 2 but revealed to Cyclingnews that he had suffered a small fracture in his hip in a fall at the Tour of Romandie.

That crash had left van Garderen unable to train for a period of time but he showed on stage four that he was improving, taking back over 30 seconds on his main GC contenders with a daring attack.

On stage 2, when van Garderen was unable to follow the best climbers Stetina was called into action, riding up to his struggling team leader before pacing him to safety.

“That stage wasn’t what we hoped for in terms of the result but it was good practice if God forbid Tejay does have a bad day at the Tour. We were able to work on being there for him and getting him to the line,” Stetina.

That one bad day in the mountains certainly doesn’t spell doom and gloom in the BMC camp. Van Garderen’s stellar ride in the 2012 Tour de France in which he finished fifth and won the white jersey, came off the back off a mediocre Dauphiné and Stetina is confident that his compatriot can find better form in the days and weeks ahead.

“You can’t have bad form and do the ride he did in the time trial. He’s the same as me right now in that he’s only getting better. We have full faith in him and that’s been a big thing with BMC this year in that we have a plan from the start of the season and we follow that. We don’t just give up someone because things aren’t 100 per cent and I think Tejay is going to do that for the Tour as well.”

Stetina moved to BMC in the off-season, breaking his long association with Slipstream Sports, where he had forged a reputation as a loyal domestique and strong climber. BMC offered him the chance to not only link up with van Garderen but also ride the Tour de France. Although BMC’s final nine-man team hasn’t been confirmed Stetina is certainly a major candidate to line up in Leeds in July.

“In this game, until you have the flight ticket you don’t know for sure but I’m certainly optimistic. That’s always been the goal, to head to the Tour with Tejay and we’re using the Dauphiné to learn how to move around together,” he told Cyclingnews.

“It’s going well. My form us good and I was pleasantly surprised with my ride to the summit finish on stage 2. After California I pretty much shut everything down because a lot of guys took their rest in May and then built up for California but I was trying to keep hot for the race and then the only time to come down was right after the race.”
 

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