Tejay van Garderen was quick to play down his chances for overall success at the 2013 Tour de San Luis, despite Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali both labelling the American as the pre-race favourite.
Van Garderen, who was fifth in last year's Tour de France, and who stands a chance of leading BMC come July, spoke to Cyclingnews at the teams' presentation in San Luis, saying that despite a favourable parcours there would be no pressure from the team to secure the overall.
"I've had a good winter of training but when I travelled to Belgium last week for BMC's team presentation, and then here to Argentina, I picked up a bit of a bug. With that to deal with in the last couple of weeks I've been a bit jumbled, but I'm happy with how I'm going into the season," he told Cyclingnews.
Upon being told of Contador's and Nibali's prediction, he said, "We'll see. Like I said, with the travel and the bug I've had I'm not going to put myself under further pressure."
Part of his rivals' predictions come from the fact that stage 4 is a 19.2 kilometre time trial, and while there are a number of quality time trialists in the field, van Garderen is perhaps one of the few who can cope with the climbing talent in the race. Last year Levi Leipheimer cemented his overall win with a dogged set of performances in the hills and a win in the time trial.
"Well I want to do well in the TT but in terms of the overall form coming into the race and trying to win it, I don't think I'm quite there yet.
"The team has been training around here and it's a nice area to train. I've been quite surprised. Some of the climbs we've ridden and we've looked at the first summit finish for stage 3. If I can stay with the leaders and then beat them in the time trial then you never know, but I'm not stressed about it.”
Team manager John Lelangue repeated van Garderen's sentiments of taking a relaxed approach to the race but stressed that the team had capable riders with a number of objectives in mind.
"We'll see how things develop but this is the first race of the season. Firstly we'll see how we've shaped up since the winter and I know we've got a good team here with Classics riders and climbers. There are two sprinters stages, mountain stages and the time trial but there's no pressure," Lelangue told Cyclingnews.
"There's an impressive field here, if you look at the names, but we're just excited to put our race numbers on. We're not here to control the race, and the climbers, Rodriguez, Nibali and Contador, they'll want to be at the front and they'll want to perform from the start of the year. We're not going to close out the race from the beginning, that's for certain. We'll take it step by step."
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