MILAN (VN) — Tejay van Garderen and the BMC Racing team ended Paris-Nice disappointed last Sunday in France. The American slipped from fourth to 16th overall because he failed to “prepare right” when the weather turned worse on the Côte d’Azur.
Van Garderen began Saturday’s stage 6 fourth overall behind world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick-Step), but the team said he failed to dress correctly when the forecast indicated bad weather on the horizon. During the stage, the team car was not able to reach him to give him warmer gear because the race had broken into pieces in the hills above Nice, where van Garderen has a European training base.
“Had a day you hope never to have. So cold!!! #disappointed #OnToTheNextTarget,” van Garderen wrote on Twitter. “Some lessons can only be learned the hard way.”
BMC sport director Valerio Piva was in Tirreno-Adriatico following Greg Van Avermaet, but the distance did little to soften his opinion of the “error.”
“They are lessons, but they are lessons that … You should be organized. Many errors can be made in the first year, but Tejay has to … he has to get results. For him it’s important, for us important,” Piva said.
“The directors, the riders know the weather, you look on any website and you know what’s coming. The riders have to prepare right. I raced, my director didn’t come to me and say, ‘Wear a heavy jersey,’ I organized it myself.
“With all the technology we have, I get the impression that no one uses it, they wait for someone to come and say, you need to do this or you need to do that. It’s important that everyone organizes himself in the morning, looking at the forecast, the parcours for the day, and prepare, prepare for the battle ahead. When you are there in the middle of the race, it’s logical that you are going to pay if you are ill-prepared.”
Van Garderen finished the stage 4:57 back and 3:57 behind eventual race winner Richie Porte (Sky). After Sunday’s mountain time trial up to Col d’Èze, he was 16th overall.
Piva, though in Italy, kept an eye on the result. The Italian was one of the sport directors last year at the Tour de France when van Garderen rode to fifth overall. He also directed the team in the Tour of Oman in February, when van Garderen left behind 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and finished second only to Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida).
“He was motivated. He went to Paris-Nice to have a good result. He came out of Oman in good condition. Unfortunately, he had an off day. In the cold, he froze. When you freeze, there’s nothing you can do. It went that way, we are going to have to try to get better organized,” Piva said.
“The Tour de France is the big one for him, and his lead-up hasn’t been compromised, there are still races where he can build his morale. They are all professionals, they will be ready when the Tour comes. It’s logical, though, if you have a win when you arrive for the start of the Tour, you’ll be in better spirits.”
Van Garderen will have his chance to bounce back in Spain’s Volta a Catalunya, which starts Monday. His next stage race, also in Spain, will be the Vuelta al Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country), April 6-11.