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Van Garderen set to retire after Sunday's US National Championships

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Van Garderen burst onto the scene as a 21-year-old in 2010, taking third at the Dauphiné behind Janez Brajkovic and Alberto Contador (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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Van Garderen celebrates with his team after his 2013 Tour of California win (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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He went on to top the podium at the US Pro Challenge the same year (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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during the final stage of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge from Boulder to Denver on August 24, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.

And repeated the feat in 2014 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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He took his first win in Europe atop Vallter 2000 at the 2014 Volta a Catalunya (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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He ended 2014 with a TTT Worlds gold medal with his BMC team (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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The next year he won again at Catalunya, this time in La Molina (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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A Dolomites stage win at Ortisei in the 2017 Giro d'Italia was his biggest career win (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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Tejay van Garderen of the United States and the BMC Racing Team on his way to winning the prologue on August 6, 2018 in St. George, Utah.

His final win came in the prologue of the 2018 Tour of Utah (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/Getty Images)
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MADRID SPAIN NOVEMBER 08 Arrival Hugh Carthy of The United Kingdom and Team EF Pro Cycling Tejay Van Garderen of The United States and Team EF Pro Cycling during the 75th Tour of Spain 2020 Stage 18 a 1396km stage from Hipdromo de la Zarzuela to Madrid lavuelta LaVuelta20 La Vuelta on November 08 2020 in Madrid Spain Photo by Justin SetterfieldGetty Images

He spent the last years of his career at EF, pictured here alongside Hugh Carthy at the 2020 Vuelta a España (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA - SEPTEMBER 26: Tejay Van Garderen of The United States / during the Men Elite Individual Time Trial a 52,5km race from Rattenberg to Innsbruck 582m at the 91st UCI Road World Championships 2018 / ITT / RWC / on September 26, 2018 in Innsbruck, Austria. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

He represented the USA at multiple World Championships, the last of which came at Innsbruck 2018 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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UNSPECIFIED, ITALY - MAY 29: xxx of xxx and xxx during the 104th Giro d'Italia 2021, Stage 22 a x km stage from x to x / @girodiitalia / #Giro / on May 29, 2021 in UNSPECIFIED, Italy. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Van Garderen at what will now be his final Grand Tour, the 2021 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Tejay van Garderen will retire after Sunday's US Pro Road National Championships, his EF Education-Nippo team has announced.

The 32-year-old has spent the past three seasons at the American squad and will draw a 12-year professional career to a close after the 190-kilometre road race in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Van Garderen turned pro with HTC-Colombia in 2010 and grabbed a Dauphiné podium at the age of 21 before spending seven years at BMC. He has been one of the most successful American riders in the pro peloton, racking up 16 wins during his time in the sport.

He hangs up his wheels with a palmarès consisting of two victories at the USA Pro Challenge, a Tour of California title, as well as stages at the Giro d'Italia, Tour de Suisse and Volta a Catalunya. He finished on the podium of the Critérium du Dauphiné on three occasions and rode 17 Grand Tours, taking two top-five spots at the Tour de France in 2012 and 2014.

That year – 2014 – was inarguably the high point of his career, with podiums at Catalunya, Oman and fifth at the Tour going with his US Pro Challenge victory, a summit finish win in Cataluya, and a gold medal in the team time trial with BMC at the Ponferrada Worlds.

In a post published on the EF Education-Nippo website on Tuesday, Van Garderen said that he was retiring after feeling that he didn't have the same effectiveness as a rider as he did in the past.

"The honest truth is that I don’t feel super effective as a bike racer anymore. Once your ability starts to be less than it was, you have to find a way to make yourself effective," he said. "I was really motivated by the rise of Hugh Carthy, and I wanted to be able to mentor him and help him. I said, 'Okay, I'm still a good climber. Maybe I can stay with him in the high mountains and give him support.'

"But the truth is I wasn't able to just climb into a group of the 20 best anymore, to be able to give a leader like Hugh support in the high mountains. So I was riding around thinking, well, what do I do? How am I effective in the race? And if I really took a good, honest look in the mirror, I said, 'Well, if you have eight people to fill a roster, I could name eight people that would serve a purpose better than I could serve that purpose'."

Van Garderen has moved into more of a mentorship role in his later years with EF, working alongside some of the younger GC charges at the squad, such as Carthy and Sergio Higuita.

This year, he raced the Volta a Catalunya, Tour of the Alps, Tour de Romandie and Giro d'Italia, helping Carthy to a top-10 finish in Italy at what turned out to be his final Grand Tour.

Van Garderen added that he was proud of the results he has achieved during his career, even if he didn't quite reach the heights of being a Grand Tour winner he might've promised as a young rider.

"I can understand why a lot of people are probably going to be left wanting more because they saw the results I achieved at a really young age," he said. "I stayed consistent for a number of years at a high level, but I never really broke through to that next level. That's what people wanted to see. I understand that. That's okay for them to want because people like their winners.

"I feel like it's time. I'm okay. I'm ready. I'm extremely proud of everything I accomplished in my career. I know personally how hard I worked to achieve what I've achieved, and I know what level I was able to hit.

"Results aside, I know that I got the best out of myself. I wish there were times that I had got to that level just a bit more often or more frequently. But I know what level I was able to hit. I'm certainly happy with what I've done."

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Daniel Ostanek

Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.

Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.