With the first week of racing over, Garmin-Cervelo will turn their attention to placing a rider in the top ten on GC at the Tour de France, with Tom Danielson perhaps the man most likely to achieve that ambition.
The squad came into the race with a number of goals, the first of which was to win their first-ever stage in the race. They achieved that by winning the team time trial on stage two, which resulted in taking the yellow jersey through Thor Hushovd. A day later they made it two from two with Tyler Farrar winning in Redon.
However today’s stage to Super Besse will see a change in yellow with Hushovd likely to relinquish his slender lead to one of any number of GC contenders.
“We’ll certainly not going to ride like we’re defending it tomorrow but in Dave you certainly do have a little bit of a wild card,” said team boss Jonathan Vaughters.
Yet despite their stint in yellow and two stage wins, Garmin’s GC potency has been weakened by a number of crashes and time gaps, with Tom Danielson, Ryder Hesjedal and Christian Vande Velde all losing time during the first week. The latest episode saw Hesjedal – 7th last year – lose over 3 minutes on stage 7, leaving both Vande Velde and Danielson highest on GC, tied at 1:57 behind Hushovd.
“Ryder is fine, but he’s frustrated that he’s lost more time but that’s how the Tour de France goes. A lot of people lost time yesterday and that’s why you bring more than one GC guy.”
Asked if he knew which of his riders was best placed to ride for GC, Vaughters was cautious. “We’ll know after Super Besse or at least we’ll have a good idea. They’ve all lost a bit of time so far so no matter what happens we won’t have someone near the top of the standings but Christian and Tommy stayed out of trouble yesterday and I think they’ll both have strong rides tomorrow.”
David Millar is currently the team’s best placed rider on GC, 8 seconds down on Hushovd and riding with strong form this season. However he downplayed his own chances of slipping in Hushovd’s yellow jersey.
“I’m going to race at the front and see how I feel,” he told Cyclingnews.
“As for yellow, I don’t think it’s a realistic goal. We’ll see how the race unfolds though, it’s the Tour, anything can happen.”
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