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Tejay van Garderen kicking off 2014 season in Oman

Cycling News
February 17, 03:43,
February 17, 03:51
First Edition Cycling News, Monday, February 17, 2014
Tour of Oman
Larry Wabasse,  Taylor Phinney, Tejay van Garderen and Pete Stetina

Larry Wabasse, Taylor Phinney, Tejay van Garderen and Pete Stetina

  • Larry Wabasse,  Taylor Phinney, Tejay van Garderen and Pete Stetina
  • Team BMC takes a pull
  • Tejay van Garderen (BMC) was all smiles at the final stage in Denver.
  • Peter Velits in the BMC red and black jersey

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Tour de France season objective for American

Tejay van Garderen is making his 2014 racing debut at the Tour of Oman, a race he has never previously ridden, as he prepares to better his fifth place at the 2012 Tour de France. With Cadel Evans targeting the Giro d'Italia, the former white jersey winner at the Tour has been handed the leadership of the French grand tour by BMC.

"I am looking forward to getting back into the groove with the team," van Garderen said. "I have trained well in sunny California and I feel like I am starting the season at a good level. I have had a lot less travel and commitments this winter, which allowed me to focus solely on the bike and time with the family.

"Oman will be a good test. I am coming here to gain fitness and confidence."

The 2012 overall winner of the race, Peter Velits, who began his season by helping Taylor Phinney win the Dubai Tour, said he is looking forward to racing with van Garderen, whom he was a teammate with in 2010 and 2011 at HTC.

"I am not coming here with any specific ambition," Velits said. "I just want to do a good race with the team. Dubai showed that the work we did during the winter was good, so I hope this race will confirm it."

Joining Velits and van Garderen are five riders who recently made appearances at the Tour of Qatar, Marcus Burghardt, Philippe Gilbert, Martin Kohler, Michael Schär and Greg Van Avermaet. They will be joined by Dominik Nerz, who competed at the Tour de San Luis last month.

Sport Director Valerio Piva said team's goals for the race will be two-fold. "We have more climbers here because of the profile," Piva said. "I think we have more chances with Philippe and Greg, too. So it's possible we can do something for stages while we still have ambitions for the general classification."

BMC have won two overall classifications already in 2014 as Steve Cummings held onto his lead to claim the Tour Méditerranéen, adding to Phinney's success in Dubai.

BMC Racing Team Tour of Oman: Marcus Burghardt (GER), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Martin Kohler (SUI), Dominik Nerz (GER), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA) and Peter Velits (USA).

Pedal Pusher 5 months ago
Interesting - a lot of the v strong BMC riders out to support TJ. I remain unconvinced about his ability in GT's but this shorter type of race may suit him - especially given he's get a bit of an armchair ride. BUT there is some v strong competition - can't see him on the podium unless some of the far better GC riders are not already on form.
bike_boy 5 months ago
Everyone knows sammy will be their man in France.
Pedal Pusher 5 months ago
If you mean "Sammy" Sanchez, he is riding the Giro to support Evans and possibly la Vuelta - so can't see him riding TDF. BMC have recruited 2 strong climbers to support TJ, Stetina and Atapuma - BMC would get better mileage out of Sammy using him like already planned - Giro support for Evans and potential stage wins and the Classics. BMC announced his program as Classics Sud Ardèche & Drôme Classic in France , Strade Bianche Roma Maxima in Italy, then the Spanish races Volta Ciclista A Catalunya and Vuelta Ciclista Al Pais Vasco and then the Giro. Doesn't seem there will be much room for Sanchez in France.
kevinzamora 5 months ago
Nobody is on form at this point
Pedal Pusher 5 months ago
@kevinzamora I am assuming you mean GC riders for GT's as opposed to riders who have won shorter tours this year eg Gerrans, Phinney, Terpstra, Cummings. Not to forget Quintana who won Tour San Luis by 43 secs on GC, after several days riding unwell - he was on pretty good form in that win. Porte and Evans also looked to have pretty good form at TDU.
Lightening Toke 5 months ago
I just have to say this somewhere. Apologies. The Dutch, who've always been one of the strongest speed skating nations in the world, are nevertheless now in Sochi absolutely annihilating the rest of the world in a way that has never been done before. We know the Dutch have been fairly skilled and practiced in doping cyclists. Have they not brought a skilled doping regime into their speed skating program? Has anyone seen Geert Leinders in Sochi? I want to know what the testing program is for speed skating. I bet if we found out, we'd find out it was a joke, and any mediocre doping doctor from cycling could deftly evade any positives. Doping in cycling has completely jaundiced my view of all enduranced-based Olympic sports. Doping in cycling has ruined my experience of the Winter games. The Norwegians are getting absolutely blown out in cross country skiing. From first to nothing in four years. In the Norwegian press, they're all talking about skis and wax. I'm wondering if the Norwegian team did not decide to go clean, or try to go clean, in the attempt to protect their prestigious program, from more rigorous testing and future retroactive testing. Anyone have any info on internal Norwegian drug testing? How about the Swedes? They just rocked the cross country ski world with dazzling wins in both, BOTH, the women's and men's team relay events. Charlotte Kalla's final leg performance was so awe-inspiring, that, sorry, Charlotte, it just reminded me too much of awe-inspiring cycling performances over the last 20 years. Are the Swedes doped up? What's the testing regime in cross country skiing? Doping. Jesus. We must all resolve to eradicate it. No half-measures.
Lightening Toke 5 months ago
Oh, and another thing. How come there are absolutely no stories about drug testing coming out from Sochi? Nothing at all!
TheFred 5 months ago
Dude, you've got it all wrong. It's marginal gains. The others didnt know how to train or what equip to use, but after the last Olympics they decided to do a few things just a little better and whatdyaknow! Shazam!
cantpedal 5 months ago
marginal attempt at humor
TheFred 5 months ago
You're right. Win a few, lose a few.
PJK1972 5 months ago
Have you ever heard of the expression "innocent until proven guilty"? Although systematic doping is possible, due to all the in competition drug testing in the Olympics these days I think it's highly unlikely. Was the Swedish win that surprising? Seems to me they had previous form and that Norway's best bloke was coming back from injury.
TheBean 5 months ago
Individuals are, indeed, innocent until proven guilty. But the long history of doping in power sports and endurance sports is enough precedent to raise suspicion in any world-class event for the field in general.
TheFred 5 months ago
I understand your point, which is a good one. But to further derail an article about Tejay, we are not really innocent until proven guilty. That is just a "feel good" expression that people say, but it is not true. First of all, in reality, we are either innocent or guilty. But I realize we're not talking about reality; we're talking about what others think. But even in the thoughts of others, we're not innocent until proven guilty. If your parents thought you did it, you got punished. They didn't have to prove it or win a case. If your boss thinks you did it, you will suffer the consequences of guilt, whether you're innocent or not. If your friends/family/public think your guilty, you will feel the weight of guilt. And even in criminal matters, once apprehended, you're guilty unless you can prove innocence. Even in the USA you will go straight to jail and remain there until they want to release you if they "think" you're guilty. And when you go to trial, you are already believed to be guilty by the police, a grand jury who believes there is enough evidence to convict, and the prosecutors who believe they can "win" (ie prevent you from proving your innocence) the case. Even "reasonable doubt" (not to be confused with "shadow of a doubt") means that there must be something reasonable which would make you doubt that all the officials are right about the guilt. No, in reality, if anybody thinks you did it, it's up to you to prove innocence, because to them, you're guilty. In the case of public opinion, it won't send you to jail, but it could make your life much less pleasant unless you can prove innocence. It may not be "fair", but it's reality. We all judge (assess) without conscious thought. And how much more will we assess something that looks and smells rotten? My two bits:-)
wrinklyvet 5 months ago
Apologies noted, but is it right to turn this article about BMC to a discussion about the Olympics and PEDs? Just wondering.
Pedal Pusher 5 months ago
@wrinklyvet I'm with you this was a discussion about BMC and Lightening Toke has used it as a forum for discussing Sochi - don't see the connection.
TheBean 5 months ago
A new thread could be opened in the clinic. I'm too computer illiterate to figure out how to do it, myself. I bet a clinic thread on this topic would be a hit!
cyclemike66 5 months ago
Mr. Toke, It's the Olympics, of course there's doping! Look at its long history of doping and you won't be so surprised in the future. As for your other question, there was a story about two Russian skiers who popped positive for doping just before the games began. I'm sure more stories will come forward once the games are over.
PCM Geek 5 months ago
Don't forget that cycling follows the same doping rules and testing that the Olympics does in that they both work under the World Anti Doping authority. With what you said above you could in fact substitute the word "Olympics" with "Cycling" so there can be failed tests expected in both the present and the future... But I agree, a comment about the Olympics isn't necessary for an article about a bike race in Oman...
Nolmeister 5 months ago
Does anybody know what Tejay's goal is for the TDF? Top 5? Or just wait and see? I'm curious about BMC's expectations since they're devoting an entire team to him.
Pedal Pusher 5 months ago
@Nolmeister there's been a lot of articles about BMC goals this year and their success so far but very little about the role of TJ other than the fact that he is the TDF GC leader - no top 5 or even top 10 aspiration - yet there has been very clear recruitment of climbers to support TJ at the TDF. On the other hand there have been very clear statements about BMC expectations of Cadel at the Giro. Wonder if Evans good form at TDU got BMC thinking that Evans was more likely to deliver a far better result at the Giro than TJ at the TDF and that BMC needed to provide better team support - having Sanchez on board at the Giro has given Evans an even better chance of a good result when compared to TJ's chances. Perhaps BMC are hoping for a Top 10 result for TJ and using the race as a gauge of his future potential. Just can't see him achieving Top 5 - he is no where near the levels of the other main TDF GC riders - Froome, Nibali, Contador, Valverde, Rodriguez, Kreuziger, Mollema, the Schlecks, (if on form), Porte who will ride to support Froome. It's not just about experience as Quintana is younger than TJ and last year came 2nd and also won the climbers jersey and the white jersey. If TJ doesn't do well at the TDF perhaps BMC will revisit his role as a GC rider.
wheel chaser 5 months ago
Let's face it, what other choise did BMC have? Cadel is past his prime for the tour, who's left. Last years team was entirely devoid of direction and it appears Peiper has changed that completely. TJ always gives the appearance of being soft but I think spending less time in the US may help him...he's obviously got to mix it up more with the big boys. We may be surprised at his performance this year, 25 is not the age where you give up on a rider with his potential.
Peter von 5 months ago
Very important point you make about TJ's role at the Tour, my guess is they'll bring two or three of Gilbert, Hushovd, Avermaet and Phinney to go stage hunting and talk to the journalists. Also Stetina and Atapuma can hunt stage wins on their own if need be. A year ago people(not saying you were one of them) talked about how crazy BMC were to still rank Evans higher than TJ, i don't think BMC rushes to judgement like that and knows that they are better off showing both of their GC guys that they have faith in them. I'm not sure if they brought Samu in because of Evans strong showing in TDU, but it didn't make the decision harder. I think BMC are definately hoping for a top 10, and i think it's very likely TJ can achieve ust that, without the big domestic stage races to disrupt his focus he'll likely be much more focussed on the Tour and the added support should give him a confidence boost and hopefully BMC can score a stage victory before they hit the big mountains so TJ can be less nervous about getting results. Top 5 is difficult, but not impossible for him, he did afterall do it once before and the SKY train could work to TJs advantage because of his strong TT, if he manages to let them ride away in time and finds his own pace up the climbs. I think TJ get's two years to prove his worth as a GC rider, because Porte's contract isn't up until 2015. Different athletes mature at different ages.
Pedal Pusher 5 months ago
Don't think Gilbert, Avermaet or Hushovd are riding TDF 2014. Not sure about Phinney. Pieper has indicated that BMC are GC focused for the TDF - so it would seem that the climbers who support TJ, for sure Atapuma & Stetina will only go for a stage win if its in sync with TJ's GC positioning throughout the race. Figure the team that supports TJ will include, Atapuma, Stetina, Burghardt, Quinziato, Schär, Morabito , and 2 out of the following Moinard, Bookwalter, Velits, Nerz , Oss, Phinney.
fwhale 5 months ago
Actually the article says he wants to improve upon his 5th place in 2012. So top 4.
Pedal Pusher 5 months ago
Perhaps BMC are looking for a top 10 for TJ but with riders like - Froome, Nibali, Contador, Valverde, Rodriguez, Kreuziger, Mollema, the Schlecks, (if on form), Porte who will ride to support Froome, TJ achieving top 10 is even looking hard. Wouldn't be surprised if either Atapuma or Stetina finished higher on GC that TJ. Evans is getting near the end of his career but would have still backed him to get a better result than TJ at the TDF. When TJ got Top 5 there were less fit competitive cyclists riding and now given the riders mentioned at the beginning of this post it would seem that TJ has far less chance.
TheBean 5 months ago
Thanks for listing the top contenders. With all the news about Quintana doing the Giro, the class of the TdF field has been in question. IMO, Tejay can realistically compete with most of those guys (Froome, Contador and Nibali being clear favorites).
TheBean 5 months ago
IMO, any rider who wins the white jersey is worth a shot at supporting for GC. 25 is still young and he is certainly still developing physically and mentally. His performance on Huez last year showed that he is able to be a factor in the high mountains. He had a horrible day early on that cost him any GC ambitions last year. So, this year - if he's healthy - could be a good one for him.
Pedal Pusher 5 months ago
One good stage performance during the TDF does necessarily mean he's a strong GC rider. BTW he didn't win the Huez stage as he ran out of gas and he had more than one bad day during the tour. Consistency every stage of the TDF is crucial for GC success. Don't agree that TJ can realistically compete with the top GC contenders mentioned above but Quintana who is younger and less experienced can beat most of them and had beaten most of them in his short career. Porte also had a few bad days but was still there to help Froome when needed. Looking forward to seeing how TJ goes at Tour of Oman - can't see him being top5 and may struggle to make top 10 if he has one bad day. But seems BMC have selected a team that can also deliver stages wins just in case TJ doesn't do well.
TheBean 5 months ago
A fifth overall and winner of the young riders' classification on his list of accomplishments is enough to give him the benefit of the doubt for at least co-leadership.
Pedal Pusher 5 months ago
One fifth overall 2 years ago and winner of the young rider classification isn't convincing enough to give him the benefit of the doubt for at least co leadership let alone the sole leadership he has been given for 2014 TDF. On the other hand Quintana was 2nd at the TDF last year as well as winning the young riders jersey, the mountains jersey and winning a stage. Based on this he still wasn't selected to ride as team leader for Movistar at 2014 TDF, instead it is Valverde who will be team leader for Movistar. Quintana was selected as team leader for the Giro. Perhaps it would have been better for TJ to be the team leader at the Giro or La Vuelta before being a team leader at TDF.