BMC Racing have announced that Tejay van Garderen will race this year’s Vuelta a España. The American pulled out of the Tour de France inside the final week due to illness but had been placed third overall at the time. Van Garderen has not ridden the Vuelta since making his Grand Tour debut with HTC in 2010.
The shift in schedule means that van Garderen will not compete in the USA Pro Challenge, a race he has won for the past two years.
"After looking at the route and considering what happened at the Tour, all things just seemed to point in the direction that the Vuelta was the path to take," van Garderen said in a team release.
"The more I have thought about it, the more excited I am about doing it. It is a great new challenge.
"This is 100 percent my decision. It would be nice to go out and try to win the USA Pro Challenge again. But after what happened at the Tour, I need to prove myself on a bigger scale."
Jim Ochowicz reaffirmed that it was van Garderen’s decision to race the Vuelta and that the team backed the rider’s call. It was Ochowicz who drove van Garderen back to his base in Nice after the Tour abandonment.
"Due to his illness and withdrawal from this year's Tour de France, we had an opportunity to reconsider what was best for Tejay in the coming months," Jim Ochowicz said. "The management team supports Tejay's decision to participate in this year's Vuelta."
Van Garderen will be backed by a solid BMC unit, which includes his mountain chaperon Samuel Sanchez.
"I think Samuel is going to be motivated to do his own GC (general classification) there," van Garderen said. "I definitely do not have time to prepare for it the same way I did for the Tour de France, doing the reconnaissance, etc. But I am absolutely going to show up motivated. I am not going to give anything away."
BMC Racing for the Vuelta a España: Darwin Atapuma (COL), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Jempy Drucker (LUX), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Peter Velits (SVK).