Road

Van Garderen ‘motivated’ after Tour, Vuelta disappointments

The BMC Racing rider was forced to exit the Tour and the Vuelta because of an illness and a crash.

ALTO ERMITA DE ALBA, Spain (VN) — Tejay van Garderen would have loved to defend his fifth-place result in the Tour de France or have a chance at winning the Vuelta a España this summer, but sickness and crashes ruled him out.

His BMC Racing team admitted it has been a “bad year” for the 27-year-old American, but said he can reset with fresh targets for 2016.

“It’s a bad year for him,” BMC sport director Yvon Ledanois told VeloNews.

“It’s bad luck, it’s getting sick in the Tour de France four days before Paris, it’s a shit crash here in the Vuelta. It’s a shit year. We’ve spoken to him, though, and he’s now motivated for the next year.”

Van Garderen finished fifth in the 2012 and 2014 editions of the Tour de France and looked ready for a podium spot in Paris this July. A respiratory infection and fever wiped him out though, forcing him to abandon the race in its third week with four mountain stages remaining.

The Vuelta, which ends Sunday in Madrid, should have been a redemption race for him. Van Garderen told VeloNews there was “no use to dwell on the Tour.” Days later in stage 8, he was forced to pull the plug due to a crash and broken right collarbone.

Rival Chris Froome (Sky) abandoned in the same week after breaking a bone in his right foot following a crash.

Italian Fabio Aru (Astana) is leading the Vuelta ahead of Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha). Nairo Quintana (Movistar), second in the Tour, is further back in ninth place.

Instead of racing for a Vuelta win, BMC must return to its meeting room and map out 2016. In addition to van Garderen, the team will need to consider plans for Australian Richie Porte, who will join the squad from Sky this winter.

They say it is darkest before dawn, and that could be the case with van Garderen’s career. He could bounce back stronger than ever in 2016 based on his strong rides in the grand tours, his Volta a Catalunya and team time trial wins, and his runner-up finish in the Critérium du Dauphiné.

“Bad luck, yes, but that’s life and cycling. You never know when the crashes will happen,” added Ledanois.

“Maybe next year he won’t have any problems, won’t crash, and will win a big race.

“We will talk with him in December and decide the best plan, we need to see the Giro, Tour, and Vuelta presentations first.”

Said van Garderen, “The reality is that to have something go right for three weeks in a row is almost impossible, you have to take it how it comes.

“There are other years, there’ll be other chances. You just have to keep trying.”

Van Garderen flew to Paris after abandoning the Vuelta, stayed there for one day, and continued home to Aspen, Colorado. His season is over, but planning for 2016 and a new dawn will soon begin.