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Van Garderen looking for every opportunity at Tour de France

By:
Barry Ryan
Published:
July 13, 2013, 18:40,
Updated:
July 13, 2013, 19:41
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, July 13, 2013
Race:
Tour de France, Stage 14
Tejay van Garderen (BMC) had a tough day yesterday. Will he bounce back on the road to Bagnères-de-Bigorre

Tejay van Garderen (BMC) had a tough day yesterday. Will he bounce back on the road to Bagnères-de-Bigorre

  • Tejay van Garderen (BMC) had a tough day yesterday. Will he bounce back on the road to Bagnères-de-Bigorre
  • Lars Bak (Lotto) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC) move the breakaway along
  • Tejay van Garderen (BMC).
  • Tejay van Garderen (BMC)

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American in break of the day on the road to Lyon

Two weeks into the Tour de France, Tejay van Garderen (BMC) lies over half an hour behind the yellow jersey wearer and race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) and seemingly a lifetime away from his feats of last July, when he impressed to claim fifth overall and the title of best young rider.

It would be understandable if van Garderen were to dwell on the negatives of his collapse in the Pyrenees last weekend but he immediately vowed to set aside his disappointment in a bid to salvage something from this year's Tour, deferring the full post-mortem on his short-lived overall ambitions until after the race.

Easier said than done at the Tour de France. However the opportunity finally presented itself on the stage 13 to Lyon, when van Garderen infiltrated the move of the day after 50 kilometres. The American had teammate Marcus Burghardt for company in the winning break of 18, but when his attempt to forge clear in the finale came to nothing and he sacrificed his chances for the good of the team, he had to settle for 16th place, 1:35 down on winner Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).

“It’s hard when you’re not a sprinter to win out of a group like that,” van Garderen said after warming down outside the BMC bus. “We knew we didn’t have the fastest guy to the line so we knew we had to ride aggressively. Maybe if there was a harder climb or a climb closer to the finish we would have had a chance but we had to try.”

The final two climbs of the Côte de la Duchère and the Côte de la Croix-Rousse presented the final opportunity for van Garderen to try and force the issue, and he duly put in a searing turn to shatter the leading group with 16 kilometres to race.

Van Garderen’s effort on the penultimate climb was not enough to go clear by himself but he again showed his strength on the run-in to Lyon, as he worked to try and reel in late escapee Julien Simon (Sojasun).

“I had nothing to lose and everything to gain, so I said I was going to go for it. It didn’t work but it feels good to give it a try,” van Garderen said of his acceleration.

Tactical racing

On the eve of the Tour’s re-entry into the high mountains and with seven minor climbs dotting the parcours, Saturday’s transitional stage promised the ideal combination of circumstances and terrain for a break to stay away, but the size of the group meant that it was a difficult situation to control.

“There were times when we were rolling together pretty well, and other times when guys would sort of hang on, and that was a little bit annoying,” said van Garderen.

“There was also a long time there where they kept us at one minute because a couple of teams who missed the break were chasing us. Then all of a sudden, they gave up the chase. It was nervous there for a good 40 kilometres. We were rolling fast and they were still pretty close.”

As van Garderen headed to board the BMC bus, he said that he would look to sniff out another breakaway opportunity in the mountainous final week – “Right now, I’m just trying to look for every opportunity I can” – and he also expressed his belief that teammate Cadel Evans can move up from his current 12th place on general classification.

“Every year at the Tour when you get into the third week, guys start to die and crack in front of you, but Cadel has shown that he can be pretty stable in the third week,” van Garderen said. “I would say he could finish in the top ten or maybe even the top five still.”
 

DirtyWorks More than 1 year ago
I'm glad he took a chance today. Really. I think everyone who watches bike racing would agree. The stage before Ventoux is not a great time to dig deep. Best of luck to all racers tomorrow. There will be carnage!
Pedal Pusher More than 1 year ago
Opportunist. TJ couldn't support the team leader since the start of the TDF and then goes out for his own glory. “Right now, I’m just trying to look for every opportunity I can”, never mind supporting your team leader. Once Evans finishes with BMC I'll probably stop following the team - TJ is not a team player - he got an arm ride at TOC and then disappoints at Tour de Suisse while Evans gets a 3rd at the Giro with a B team. Seems there are plenty of other great young riders with good team ethic for fans to support.
veganpotter More than 1 year ago
He's looking out for the team now. Jim Ochowicz already said they need to be there for TEAM POINTS. You get on the podium in a stage...you get TEAM POINTS. I like Cadel Evans but he's either going well or he gets worse when things are bad. Well...things are bad and he's only gonna move up if others move down but his gap to the podium will still probably increase from now on. He ACTUALLY has better sprint legs than climbing legs right now. He's always been able to be top 10 or 15 in a bunch sprint. He's not gonna be there in the harder climbs and he USED to be one of the world's best ITT riders and even top ten on a TERRIBLE day but he hasn't done that for a long time. BMC's best interests are to go for stage wins and hope Cadel doesn't fall out of the top 15
karrotten More than 1 year ago
Evans and Tjs performance make a mockery of Ochowicz team selection - all to support Cadel for yellow The team failed on the TTT and then as soon as they got to the mountains Evans and TJ failed to deliver. With no hope left in GC, the only person likely to have delivered a stage win is Gilbert who has done nothing. Ouchwicz deserves all he gets if/when BMC come away with nothing from the tour.
sairyder More than 1 year ago
Agree with above comment - no mention of how TJ is going to ride to support Cadel in the mountains - just looking to improve his own tour. Poor attitude. Cadel always seems to get lumped with these immature guys with big egos - They don't get that their best learning experience is leaving it ALL on the road for their team leader, especially a rider as experienced and proven as Cadel. TJ is a dropkick.
maplethedog More than 1 year ago
Do you understand bike racing at all? He is going to labor so Cadel can finish 12th? A stage win for the team is much better, Cadel has had it...
popoleke More than 1 year ago
It's better to have one win and a rider who is 9th in GC than having no win and a guy who lies 7th. Plus, I don't think he will need TJ when it's going uphill. Cadel just has to follow other weels, or ride his own tempo.
azureskies More than 1 year ago
TJ needs to ride a few years in a domestique team. Cav carries bottles when necessary. TJ is not worthy of a TdF ride. Why is he not sheltering and pampering the leader of his team. Unbelievably selfish. Maybe TJ thinks the TdF is training for the USPROChallange? TJ really dishonours LeTour with his selfishness.
veganpotter More than 1 year ago
TJ finished 5th last year. Cadel won't even finish close to that this year and probably won't ever again. If they have a GC guy its TJ but he had bad luck and that happens to everyone just like Rider H. TJ isn't as young as Quintana and he's ready. Top 5 proves something doesn't it??? Is Rider dishonoring the Tour by not being very good right now???
azureskies More than 1 year ago
Todays stage was a stage for rouliers, like Gilbert, not a GT rider like TJ. He is 32 minutes down. Well I guess a top 5 would be possible if your name was Oscar Piero in TdF2006. Root on though, best of luck.
fantastic_dan More than 1 year ago
yup, I agree, TJ should have stayed in the peloton and Gilbert should have been in the break. Yeah, he finished 5th last year, but after a couple of bad days, those ambitions are gone for this year, and he should relegate himself to being completely dedicated to helping Cadel. If he keeps trying these moves, he'll get a bad rep pretty quickly.
Highwaystar More than 1 year ago
"TJ finished 5th last year. Cadel won't even finish close to that this year" How is that even worth mentioning when Cadel WON the year before that? You United Statesians make me laugh and cringe at the same time.
sairyder More than 1 year ago
Agree with above comment - no mention of how TJ is going to ride to support Cadel in the mountains - just looking to improve his own tour. Poor attitude. Cadel always seems to get lumped with these immature guys with big egos - They don't get that their best learning experience is leaving it ALL on the road for their team leader, especially a rider as experienced and proven as Cadel. TJ is a dropkick.
movingtarget More than 1 year ago
The guy is immature.Admits he can't sprint but wastes energy in a break with sprinters but he was probably better off as he will be dropped badly on Ventoux but like Gilbert he has done little to help Evans in the Tour this year. Gilbert is usually sitting at the back chatting with someone in the rainbow jersey. Two years ago in the Tour of America TJVG threw his bike and had a hissy fit after not doing well in the TT. Lots to learn. Has the raw talent but needs a good DS to sort him out.
Pedal Pusher More than 1 year ago
Or perhaps a Team captain on the road like Hincapie - no way would TJ behave so selfishly had Hincapie been riding as captain while Evans was the team leader.