BMC's Tejay van Garderen has continued to showcase his talent following his fine fourth-place earlier in the month at Paris-Nice by stepping onto the podium at the Critérium International. The aspiring Tour de France leader finished the race with a 54-second deficit to overall winner Chris Froome who produced an impressive one-two victory for Team Sky with Richie Porte taking second.
One of the most significant results for the BMC squad was not just van Garderen's but that of last year's overall winner at Critérium International, Cadel Evans, who failed to feature in the general classification standings. Evans would eventually be placed into domestique duties after the time trial and finished nearly 16 minutes down on the overall winner Froome.
Evans had come into the race with intentions to improve on his disappointing result at Tirreno-Adriatico however, after finishing the Stage 2 time trial in 74th-place it became clear who the team's leader would be on the final day to the summit of the Col d'Ospedale. Such was Evans' performance in the 7km individual test that he failed to beat the time of Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard) - who has been struggling to return to form following his fractured pelvis sustained last season.
For van Garderen, the podium place was just another race ticked-off ahead of his season's biggest objective at the Tour de France. The two-day Critérium International may not have been a huge objective but it was an important one. This would be the first and only time the young American and former Tour winner Evans would race alongside each other before the Grand Départ in Porto-Vecchio on 29 June.
"I wouldn't say I had a real objectives coming into this race," said van Garderen on his team site.
Despite coming in without a real objective, the 24-year-old was slightly disappointed not to take more from the 2.HC race. Achieving a greater result was made all the more difficult given the strength of the Sky team. Van Garderen had played witness to the imposed tone of racing set by the Great British squad but this time they also had Froome - in addition to Paris-Nice's overall winner Porte.
"It would have been nice to get a stage win - maybe in the time trial - but I'm happy.
"Sky is obviously very strong and we're obviously going to have to step our game up if we're going to be competitive with them," he added.