PEYRAGUDES, France (VN) — And now, it’s Tejay’s time.
BMC Racing management has given American Tejay van Garderen the green light to ride his own race today, though the team will still rally around Cadel Evans.
“Tejay seems fine, and he’s going to have the freedom to ride the race he needs to. But Cadel is still the captain, so the team is going to be there to help him,” team president Jim Ochowicz said at the start this morning.
Van Garderen found himself better placed than his captain after Evans suffered in the Pyrénées Wednesday, dropping more than five minutes to Bradley Wiggins’ yellow-jersey group on the day.
Van Garderen, too, was dropped after Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) accelerated up the Peyresourde, but found himself in sixth on the general classification after the dust had settled, with Evans 11 seconds behind his helper, who also wears the white jersey.
Today’s stage, from Bagnèrs-de-Luchon to Peyragudes, sees five rated climbs, notably the above category Port de Balès (11.7 kilometers at 7.7 percent average gradient) and finishes up the Peyragudes climb (15.4km at an average of 5.1 percent). It is the final uphill finish in this Tour de France.
BMC will still look after its captain, and Ochowicz didn’t discount the team for the stage.
“Today is a tough stage. I can’t tell you who’s going to win or lose but I think we’ll be in the hunt,” he said. “Obviously yesterday was a tough day for him. We want to see how [Evans] reacts getting back on the bike and getting back in the race.”