It’s just days away now for American Tejay van Garderen. Just another 10 days until he can set out to prove his fifth place in 2012 wasn’t a “fluke,” as he called it.
On Wednesday, BMC Racing team announced the Tour de France squad that will go to work for van Garderen, bringing a blend of roulers and climbers to the 2014
edition of La Grande Boucle.
Marcus Burghardt, Amaël Moinard and Michael Schär all rode on Cadel Evans’ winning team in 2011. They will be joined by Daniel Oss, Greg Van Avermaet, and Peter Velits, who have all ridden the Tour previously. Darwin Atapuma and Peter Stetina will make their maiden appearances at the sport’s biggest race, which begins July 5 in Great Britain and covers 3,664 kilometers before ending in Paris, July 27.
Van Garderen is making his fourth Tour de France start. He’s had flashes of brilliance already this season, as his runner-up finish at the Tour of Oman and stage win at the Volta a Catalunya can attest. Sickness forced his withdrawal from Paris-Nice and a crash in the Tour de Romandie prologue led to a small hip fracture. He’s undaunted.
“I don’t think the setbacks are going to have any effect on how the Tour de France is going to be raced,” van Garderen said. “The bottom line is you can come back from just about anything if you have put in the work in the winter. I have trained hard and have a solid base and solid foundation of training,” he said. “It’s just a matter of not having any bad luck.”
His team should be able to help in that regard.
“We go to the Tour de France with an experienced team that has helped guide a past winner,” BMC Racing team president and general manager Jim Ochowicz said in a press release. “So we feel confident we have the right mix of people on the starting line. We go there not as favorites, but as contenders, and we expect to animate the race from time to time, as we have done in the past.”
A notable absence from the lineup is 2011 champion Cadel Evans, who split leadership duties with van Garderen last year. This season, Evans raced the Giro d’Italia, and the 25-year-old American was given full backing for the Tour. Van Garderen finished fifth and won the white jersey in 2012 but finished a disappointing 45th last year.
BMC sporting manager Allan Peiper said the team will work for van Garderen but target stage wins too. “We put together a well-balanced team of climbers and helpers to support Tejay on all terrain and, at the same time, we want to be able to try for stage wins on specific days,” Peiper said.
Yvon Ledanois will serve as the team’s lead sport director for at the Tour. He said he saw strong bonding and teamwork at the Critérium du Dauphiné, where six of the nine rode together. “We have a team of high quality riders with experience who can get victories and do good work for their leader,” he said. “We also have a good staff in place to give us strength and energy.”