Van Garderen and Dennis lead BMC at the Giro d'Italia
American given primary leadership as Dennis given free role to learn for the future
The BMC team has confirmed that Tejay van Garderen and Rohan Dennis will lead the US WorldTour team at the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia, which begins next Friday, May 5, in Sardinia.
Van Garderen is named as the team's primary leader, while Dennis is “there to test his Grand Tour general classification ability”, according to directeur sportif, Max Sciandri.
Also in the BMC roster for the Giro d’Italia are Silvan Dillier, Manuel Quinziato, Joey Rosskopf, Manuel Senni, Dylan Teuns, and Francisco Ventoso, giving the US team a mix of experience and young talent.
Van Garderen finished fifth in the 2012 and 2014 Tours de France but has since struggled in the French Grand Tour, with Richie Porte now the first leader for BMC in July. Van Garderen has accepted the new and difficult challenge of leading the BMC team at the Giro against the likes of Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), and a host of other overall contenders.
"The Giro d'Italia is a race I have never done before and it was a race I had been asking to do for a while. This year, the team gave me the green light to give it a try and it was a good opportunity for me to lead the team in a different Grand Tour,” van Garderen said in the official announcement of the BMC line-up.
“The parcours suits me well. There is a good number of time trialling kilometres and a good number of mountain stages. It is a very balanced Grand Tour. It's hard, certainly, but I like the route.
Dennis impressed at Tirreno-Adriatico in March and won a stage at the recent Tour of the Alps. However, he also suffered on the first mountain stage but bounced back on the two other testing stages. The Australian considers the Giro d’Italia as an important step in his Grand Tour career.
“On paper, if you look at the route, I think 90 per cent of the time the Giro d'Italia is the hardest Grand Tour every year. It's probably the least-suited to me when it comes to the terrain, so to be able to learn how to race for the general classification in a race that isn't really suited to me, is a huge bonus for me in the future.
Van Garderen named as primary leader
To avoid any rivalry within the BMC team, van Garderen has been named as primary leader.
"Tejay van Garderen is our outright leader for the general classification. He has a lot of Grand Tour experience and we're really excited to see what he can do at the Giro d'Italia; a race he has never done before,” explained Sciandri, who will be backed by fellow directeurs sportifs Yvon Ledanois and Marco Pinotti.
“It is a new challenge for Tejay. The course is well-suited to his racing style and he will have the support of the whole team. Whereas Rohan Dennis is in a unique position where he has free rein to race his own race. Rohan has never focused on the general classification in a Grand Tour, but he has proven this year that he has the legs to be up there with the best, and I think we will see a strong performance from Rohan that will be the start of his transition to an outright Grand Tour contender.
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