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Vande Velde celebrates after Garmin-Cervélo secure Tour de France team prize

Christian Vande Velde finished the Grenoble time trial tired but happy after his Garmin-Cervélo squad secured the team competition prize to complete a hugely successful Tour de France.

Vande Velde's chance of a good placing in the overall classification this year were derailed by a series of crashes early on, but he played a role in all the success of the team in this year's race and helped Tom Danielson secure ninth overall in his debut Tour de France.

Vande Velde could have rolled around the Grenoble time trial course but gave it everything, inspired by the presence of his father in the team car.

"I had fun today. I haven't had fun for a while in a time trial and so it was nice to do that. My old man was behind me (in the team car), yelling at me. He thinks I can hear him but I can't," Vande Velde joked after crossing the finish line.

"I really had no reason to go and smash myself but you're at the Tour, it's a nice day and not wet, it was a beautiful road, a great crowd and so you go for it."

Motivation from the team

Vande Velde perhaps best epitomizes the team spirit at Garmin-Cervélo during this year's Tour de France. He could have focused on his own performance but rode hard in the final mountain stages to make sure the team had three riders well placed on key stages to secure the team prize.

Garmin-Cervélo beat Leopard Trek by 11:04, with Ag2r-La Mondiale third at 11:20.

"It's great to be part of a great team, to have the motivation to push on," he said. "Without a great team I wouldn't have the motivation to be in the final group on the climbs. I'd be cannon fodder otherwise.

"We've got the team classification, which is awesome. It's a huge goal of ours but it's something that I thought that Slipstream would never accomplish for one day, never mind for the whole Tour. We won the team time trial, stage wins, took the yellow jersey and team overall. What more can you say?"

Vande Velde is naturally ready for a break after three weeks of hard racing. When asked what next for him, he replied: "I'm going home on Monday, man. I can't wait."

Before heading home to Chicago, Vande Velde will ride into Paris and onto the Champs-Élysées. He will help Tyler Farrar in the final sprint and then no doubt proudly lead the Garmin-Cervélo team onto the podium to celebrate their hugely successful Tour de France.

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.