REDON, France (VN) — Garmin-Cervélo was still buzzing following the team’s dramatic victory in the team time trial, which delivered the team its first Tour de France win and put Thor Hushovd into the yellow jersey.
The victory meant that the Tour monkey was finally off the team’s back despite notching 17 second- and third-places since its first Tour in 2008.
The squad was back in business of racing bikes Monday, riding to defend Hushovd’s yellow jersey and position Tyler Farrar for a chance at the stage victory.
But what about the team’s GC chances? Christian Vande and Ryder Hesjedal each lost nearly two minutes to the top overall favorites when they were caught up behind the crash in Saturday’s stage.
Team manager Jonathan Vaughters said he wasn’t worried about the time losses so early in the Tour.
“What are the time gaps between 5th-6th-7th place in the Tour? Maybe one of them gets seventh instead of sixth. I am not really worried about it,” Vaughters said. “They have turned the page. I am not even a little bit concerned.”
Vaughters said the team has realistic GC expectations for Vande Velde and Hesjedal in this year’s climb-heavy Tour. Placing a rider in the top-10 is what the team’s aiming for in Paris, and ideally a few more stage victories in between.
“If we were Alberto Contador and we were here, and I lost that much time, I would be worried,” he said. “But we are here to win stages, we are here to do our best in the time trials, and we’re here to put a rider into a top-10, so I don’t think the time losses Saturday are going to have that much of an impact.”
Garmin-Cervélo managed to sneak world champion Hushovd through the mayhem Saturday and he rode to third place on the stage, a result that helped position him for the maillot jaune with the team’s TTT victory Sunday.
Vande Velde, with fourth in 2008 and eighth in 2009, and Hesjedal, with seventh last year, were not so lucky. Both were caught up behind the crash and lost 1:55 on the stage.
“It was the first day of the Tour de France, to think that there wasn’t going to be a crash, just isn’t realistic,” Vaughters said. “They were in a line, they just got caught. The front half of the line, which were Millar, Ramunas and Thor, got through. The rest of the guys were caught. I teach them to race in a line. It kind of bit us in the ass.”
As Vaughters said in Les Herbiers, the team is taking a “day-by-day” approach and said the team’s immediate concern is winning stages with Hushovd and Farrar.