After crashing out of the Tour de France, Christian Vande Velde has headed home to Girona to recover. The Garmin-Transitions rider crashed heavily on stage 2 and failed to start the following day due to his injuries. Team boss Jonathan Vaughters, has given his full support to his rider’s recovery, stressing that he must be ready to race when he comes back and that there will be no pressure to rush his GC candidate back.
Garmin had finished both of their previous two Tours with all nine riders, but Vande Velde has had a horrendous run of luck in the last 18 months, crashing out of last two Giros an now this year's Tour.
"We've always finished with all nine riders, every year since we started doing this, and obviously that's not going to happen this year. Of course it's disappointing, but we've got a lot of guys who were dedicated to Christian who have been itching for their own chance for quite a while so today they're going to get it," Vaughters told Cyclingnews, the day off the crash.
But when asked where Vande Velde's latest crash left his career Vaughter's replied, "That's a reasonable question. At this point in time, Christian needs to go home and forget about bike racing for a while and get back to the things that he enjoys in life and then decide when he feels like he's ready to race and wants to race again. He's got to decide that he really wants to get back into it. That's going to be something that he's going to have figure out."
"You have to remember that Christian and I started being friends in 1997. He's my friend first and my employee second and so at this point in time I just want him to figure out the motivation to really race again."
Garmin-Transitions has certainly countered its bad luck with a number of brave performances in the last two days. Ryder Hesjedal went on the attack on stage 3 and finished fourth, while Julian Dean took second on yesterday's stage to Reims.
"I think our tactic is going to be flexible and we're just going to have to roll with what comes our way. At the start of the organisation, we didn't know that Christian was a GC contender so flexibility and the possibility of changing things on the fly is something that we can do."
Garmin's biggest stage winning potential comes in the form of sprinter Tyler Farrar. The American crashed heavily on stage 2 and fractured a wrist. Still in the race, he's nursed his injury through the last two days, unable to pull on the bars and sprint effectively. The team are hopeful his condition will improve over the coming days.