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SANTA ROSA, California (VN) — BMC Racing’s Tejay van Garderen used Friday’s pre-race press conference at the Amgen Tour of California to address a serious topic — and to ask for help.
A longtime friend and former racing teammate, John Behrens, was hit by a car last week and is in the Intensive Care Unit at Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego with a punctured lung, broken vertebrae, shattered hip, broken ribs, bruised kidney and spleen.
The extent of his injuries will require multiple surgeries, with hospital bills estimated to exceed $500,000.
To help out, van Garderen donated, for online auction, a signed polka dot KOM jersey he wore at the 2011 Tour de France for auction, with proceeds donated to his friend’s massive hospital bill.
In 2011 van Garderen powered his way to the KOM line of the stage 8’s most difficult climb, the Col de la Croix Saint-Robert, to become the first American to wear the polka dots at the Tour. (Greg LeMond led the competition, but instead wore the maillot jaune of race leader.)
Details on the auction can be found here.