It’s only natural for a rider to fall back on a verbal crutch when facing the television cameras day-in, day-out after stages of the Tour de France, but the coda to so many of Tejay van Garderen’s responses this week has been particularly apt.
“We’re in a very good place,” van Garderen has repeated, in reference to his condition and his overall standing. Yet in a rather more literal sense, too, the American and his BMC team have been eminently well-positioned throughout this race’s breathless early exchanges.
After the Tour passed through a cross-section of Classics country on Monday and Tuesday, the expectation was that a form of détente would break out on the road to Amiens on stage 5. On a day of steady rain, intermittent crosswinds and sporadic crashes, however, the tension remained high, but van Garderen and his BMC squad were prominent at the front all afternoon long.
“It was incredible, everybody thought today was going to be the relaxed day of the Tour but the wind and the rain made it anything but relaxed,” van Garderen said afterwards. “The guys just sat on the front all day, I never had to leave third position. It costs a bit of energy but that’s worth it to stay ahead of the splits and the crashes.”