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Christian Vande Velde paces Garmin-Slipstream teammate Bradley Wiggins up the Col de la Colombière.
Two top tens for Garmin
Christian Vande Velde ended the Tour de France on Sunday in Paris happy with his eighth overall and the support he was able to offer to Garmin teammate Bradley Wiggins, who finished fourth.
"I kept realistic with myself because of the crash I had at the Giro d'Italia. I was very realistic about what I could do here and Brad had superb form," Vande Velde told Cyclingnews.
Vande Velde crashed on stage three of the Giro d'Italia in May and fractured five vertebrae, a rib and his pelvis. He could only train for three weeks and said he raced half-heartedly at Tour de Suisse prior to the Tour de France, July 4 to 26.
Wiggins came into the Tour de France after a 71st overall in the Giro d'Italia. Vande Velde decided to ride in support from day one of the Tour based on Wiggins' form and his crash in the Giro.
"We are really happy; we have two guys in the top ten. We did not know what we could possibly achieve this Tour and the final outcome ended up being great."
Wiggins lost some time on stage 17 to Le Grand-Bornand, but stayed with the favourites for the other stages of the Tour. Alberto Contador (Astana) won the race 6:01 ahead of Wiggins. Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) finished second and Lance Armstrong (Astana) third.
Contador said on Saturday that it does not work to have two riders who want to win the Tour within the same team. Vande Velde does not completely concur with that sentiment.
"I really do believe that it is such a hard race that you have to fire all your bullets for one person. Lance believes the same, I saw him doing some nice work for Alberto during the race.
"You play it how it comes. I am not saying that you can't come in with two or three leaders. I am just saying that you have to be realistic during the race when you have seen the cards that have been dealt."
Vande Velde finished fourth last year, 3:05 behind winner Carlos Sastre. He said the eighth he achieved this year, given the crash he had, re-affirms his desire for 2010.