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Van Garderen: I'm not going to the Giro just to take in the scenery

In the weeks leading up to the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia BMC Racing's Tejay van Garderen has kept a low profile.

Media requests have been politely declined and social media turned down to a minimum as the former white jersey at the Tour de France prepares for his first tilt at the corsa rosa.

This year's preparation has been all about finding the equilibrium between training and family life – a balance that has kept van Garderen away from the media glare and instead focused on his power numbers and results.

"I just wanted to try and take a different approach," he told Cyclingnews after securing sixth in the Tour de Romandie on Sunday.

"I was with my family for a month in Nice. I didn't do any recon, I didn't do any altitude, I just hired a motor pacer and I brought my wife and two daughters to Nice. The weather was perfect and I was surrounded by a lot of love. It was a relaxed and calm atmosphere and I could just focus on my work. I just said 'lets forget about the media, lets forget about social media and lets focus on the things that matter.' That's my condition and my family. I think that's the best thing that I could have done heading into the Giro."

Back in December, at BMC Racing's training camp van Garderen had said something similar. The plan back then had been to dial back on the complications, those marginal gains, and focus on the simple things in life - training and enjoying the bike. After a bruising couple of seasons van Garderen certainly needed to freshen up.

"People find a formula and they think that they can plug it into each individual and I think I've found a method that works for me," he added.

After a steady start to the year, van Garderen has begun to find his form. According to his team boss Jim Ochowicz, those numbers are steadily creeping up and van Garderen is generating a level of consistency needed with the Giro just days away. Fifth in Catalunya was followed by Romandie, where he fell on the first day but regrouped to help Richie Porte seal the win, before taking third in the final time trial.

"It was a pity about the crash in the prologue but I just got on with the task in hand. We had the victory with Richie, which is amazing, and I've been showing good form, that I'm strong, and hopefully I can carry that form into the Giro."

In the past van Garderen has been willing, sometimes too willing, to share his race ambitions. In 2015, after finishing second to Chris Froome at the Criterium du Dauphine, he told Cyclingnews that he was heading to the Tour de France to challenge for yellow. A disastrous day on the road to Pra-Loup and a DNF, only made those wounds even deeper.

The 2016 season saw another poor showing at the Tour de France and in the winter it was decided that the Giro would form as the main goal for the following season. The media intensity at the Giro might not be as suffocating as it is at the Tour but the competition is has high as ever.

"I'm not going to put a number on it. Of course the goal is GC, I'm not going there to hunt stages or take in the Italian scenery. I want to go for GC.

"Nairo Quintana is the favourite and aside from him I don't think that I need to be afraid of anyone. Where that lands me on GC, I don't know. If you put a number on it then it sets you up for failure. So if I say podium, podium, podium, and finish fourth, then that's failure. I have in my mind what I want to do but I just want to keep that to myself."

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Daniel Benson
Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.