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What next for Tejay van Garderen?

FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Starting Wednesday in Italy’s city of renaissance, BMC Racing will try to reinvent itself and restart its Giro d’Italia.

A day after Tejay van Garderen saw his GC aspirations plummet following a below-par time trial — he started stage 11 at 17th overall, 7:42 back — BMC Racing is hitting the restart button on its 2017 Giro. Rather than ride for maglia rosa, BMC Racing will recalibrate its goals.

“For sure, we were expecting more [Tuesday], and so was he,” BMC Racing sport director Max Sciandri said Wednesday at the start of stage 11. “Excuses? No. I don’t have any excuses, and I don’t think he has any excuse.”

So what went wrong? Sciandri huddled with van Garderen to discuss his approach to the Giro, gauge his sensations, lift his morale, and try to convince him that the American can still take something positive out of this Giro. What would that be? Sciandri was emphatic: A stage victory.

“I want him to try to get a stage win,” Sciandri said. “Why not? When you win a stage, it’s a big boost for everybody.”

The team’s Giro plans went sideways right from the start. Budding GC star Rohan Dennis crashed and didn’t make it off Sardinia. Then van Garderen flamed out in the decisive Blockhaus climb and Montefalco time trial. Silvan Dillier’s victory in stage 6 is the best takeaway so far.

The American came to this Giro hoping to reboot his GC footing. He ceded so much time — 3:46 at Blockhaus and 4:16 in the TT — that his GC hopes are dashed. Van Garderen was not available for comment Wednesday morning. Sciandri said it’s time to consider new options.

“We hit a bit of a wall, I’d say, but it’s not a mountain in front of us,” Sciandri continued. “We talked yesterday, about how he prepared. He’s happy with his family. He did some good training, living a healthy life. There are different ways of doing things. I tried to say to him, look, American cars are like big V-8s, and British cars are smaller, lighter, so let’s to get there in a different way. How are we going to get there? We are going to try to be a little more aggressive.”

Sciandri stepped off the BMC Racing bus on Wednesday morning in a good mood. Perhaps it was because he was so close to where he grew up as a youngster. Or, since he’s BMC’s lead director for the Giro, he has no choice.

Sciandri refused to throw his hands in the air.

“I am the captain of this boat, I need to keep it up — I believe it in,” he said, echoing comments from Tuesday. “I am still optimistic. People say, how can you see optimism? This changes the strategy. Maybe we move earlier for a stage result, and then we put ourselves back in the GC. It is still about being forward-thinking.”

In Wednesday’s stage 11, van Garderen lost a further 20 minutes in the overall.

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