Van Garderen: Porte and I are still Tour de France co-leaders

'Any moment could be anyone's moment for bad luck in the Tour'

Despite seeing his teammate Richie Porte lose 1:45 on stage 2 of the Tour de France, Tejay van Garderen stressed that the pair were still co-leaders at BMC Racing.

Porte suffered a puncture five kilometres from the finish and with the peloton racing at full tilt was unable to regain contact. He ended the stage with his GC ambitions severely dented while van Garderen crossed the line in 19th place but in the same time as stage winner and new race leader Peter Sagan (Tinkoff). The American remains on the same time as key rivals Chris Froome (Team Sky), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Fabio Aru (Astana), while Alberto Contador conceded 48 seconds.

"Two minutes could mean nothing. Contador also lost time and the Tour is a marathon. Richie hopefully is able to stay strong in his head and keep fighting," van Garderen said as he warmed down outside the BMC bus.

Porte skipped his post-race spin duties and talked to the media, calling the stage a disaster and agreeing that the two-pronged leadership dynamic may have shifted. Van Garderen, however, was not having any such talk and looked to pick his teammate up.

"I think that's a kneejerk reaction on his part. I still see us as co-leaders and equals and he will still be getting support on the road. He just needs to stay positive."

"We're co-leaders and anything can happen. We saw Contador lose time and he crashed yesterday, Richie lost a bit of time today and anyone of these next 19 days could be my turn for bad luck. We’ve got to keep Richie strong and focused and give him a bit of a morale boost tonight. It’s bad luck for him.”

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It is unclear what BMC do from here, if they shift full leadership responsibilities to van Garderen or not, but he was certainly talking like a team leader in the sense that he was offering Porte support and camaraderie.

"Any moment could be anyone's moment for bad luck in the Tour," he said.

"We just need to keep him strong mentally. I know that he has the fitness so I know that if he stays positive then I’m sure he can claim some of that time back. Quintana lost nearly two minutes on stage 2 of the Tour last year and almost ended up winning the Tour. Richie needs to keep that in mind. This thing is nowhere near over.

As for his own race, van Garderen sits 18th overall and at the same time as Froome, Aru and Quintana.

"I’ve been lucky so far. Hopefully that continues but it’s only stage 2 and you can’t lose focus even for a second in this race."

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