Van Garderen backing Evans for Tour double

Van Garderen’s climbing and time trialling will play an important role in Cadel Evan’s defense of his Tour title

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Tejay van Garderen’s move to BMC over the winter has gone unacknowledged to a surprising degree. While his likable personality off the bike has ensured a seamless transition to the Swiss backed team, van Garderen’s climbing and time trialling abilities also ensure that he will play an important role in Cadel Evan’s defense of his Tour de France title come July.

“It’s been good. I really love the new team,” van Garderen enthuses when asked about the move. “Cadel is a super relaxed guy, super easy going. I thought he was going to be a little bit more highly stressed, because a lot of GC guys tend to be kind of highly stressed, but I was really surprised at how even keel and easy going he is. BMC is a really good fit for me. I’m getting on really great with all the guys. It’s perfect.”

While he will be given some freedom in races such as Paris-Nice and the Tour of California – where he took the white jersey of best young rider last year having finished fifth overall, in July all personal ambitions will be laid at the feet of team leader Evans who will be going for back to back Tour wins. “I’m not going to soft pedal the time trials,” admits van Garderen, “but I’m definitely going to try to help Cadel win the Tour. In the mountain stages, its going to be all for Cadel and yeah, for sure, I think he can win the Tour again this year.”

Although his first stage race of the year, the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal, didn’t go exactly as he might have hoped, the 23-year-old still managed to finish fourth in the final stage time trial, 13 seconds behind winner Bradley Wiggins and take seventh overall, ending the five day race just over a minute behind race winner Richie Porte of Sky.

“Last year, I was second overall here so this year hasn’t exactly gone as good as that,” said the affable all rounder after the time trial. “I rode two stages of the Mallorca Challenge but this being my first real stage race, you can’t always predict how the body’s going to react. But I think having done this should make me stronger for a couple of weeks down the road.”

Van Garderen’s next target is Paris-Nice where he hopes to be in with a shout on the overall classification. “I have a kind of lead up, building towards Paris-Nice and as far as my personal goals go, Paris-Nice is an important one, then there is the Tour of California and then the US Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado and then I’ll try to come back for the world championships. My ultimate goal this year, though, is to help Cadel win the Tour.”

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