Van Garderen inks deal with EF Education First-Drapac
Tejay van Garderen hopes a change of scenery will help him revive his career.
Officials confirmed the 29-year-old Coloradan will join the EF Education First-Drapac organization for 2019.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of ‘America’s’ team,’’ van Garderen said in a team release Tuesday. “I’m certainly not a young rider anymore, but I’m still way too young to be put out to pasture. I’ve had some good results, some ups and downs, and I’m still interested in exploring the capacity of what I have to give, however that translates. Whether it’s helping a teammate or grabbing results for myself. Whether it’s grand tours or one-week stage races. I still think there’s a lot more I can offer.”
Van Garderen was twice fifth overall at the Tour de France and boasts 15 wins on his palmares. After racing with HTC and BMC, van Garderen said he’s looking forward to a change of teams.
“This is a new chapter. Maybe even a new book,” said EF Education First CEO Jonathan Vaughters in the team release. “Tejay exhibited incredible potential in his younger years. He’s been riding under very high pressure for years as he was pegged as America’s next great cyclist. That’s been a tough billing to live up to, and it would have been for anyone.”
Van Garderen is hoping his career will see a similar revival to the fortunes of others who rebounded under Vaughters, including 2012 Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal, Christian Vande Velde, and Rigoberto Urán, the latter who was second in last year’s Tour de France.
“We’ve shown a long and successful history of taking underrated riders later in their careers and pulling out the best of them in the second half of their careers,” Vaughters said. “Hopefully we’re able to do that with Tejay, too, using a fun, grounded approach toward racing.”
Van Garderen is currently racing at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and is expected to start the Vuelta a España later this month.