Van Garderen looking forward to facing rivals at Tirreno-Adriatico

American will get his first big test as he continues Tour de France preparation

Tejay van Garderen’s march toward the Tour de France in July will continue this week at Tirreno-Adriatico, the American’s first WorldTour race of the season.

"This is the real start of the season for me,” van Garderen (BMC Racing) said in a statement released by the team. “The winter of training and races up until now have been geared towards preparing for the WorldTour events. I'm in great shape and have a strong, motivated team around me, so I'm looking forward to getting things started in Italy.”

So far this season van Garderen has logged just seven race days, all of them in Spain, starting with one-day races Vuelta a Murcia and Classica Almeria in the middle of February. He raced most recently at the five-day Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta del Sol, where he won the individual time trial on stage 4 and took the overall lead but then slipped to second behind Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) on the final day.

Van Garderen will face multiple Grand Tour GC contenders this week in Italy, including Valverde, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale), Joaqium Rodriguez (Katusha), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale), among others.

Tirreno-Adriatico begins Wednesday with a with a 22.7km team time trial that starts and finishes in Lido di Camaiore.

BMC will support van Garderen with a team that includes Damiano Caruso, Alessandro De Marchi, Jempy Drucker, Daniel Oss, Taylor Phinney, Manuel Quinziato and Greg Van Avermaet.

Team director Max Sciandri said BMC, the reigning team time trial world champions, will be targeting the opening stage.

"We're bringing a really solid team to Tirreno-Adriatico in support of Tejay van Garderen,” he said. “Given BMC Racing Team's success with the team time trial, we of course have our eyes on winning the opening stage and starting the week of racing well."

BMC Racing roster for Tirreno-Adriatico: Damiano Caruso, Alessandro De Marchi, Jempy Drucker, Daniel Oss, Taylor Phinney, Manuel Quinziato, Greg Van Avermaet and Tejay van Garderen.

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