Hincapie believes Van Garderen can be a Tour de France contender
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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hincapie believes Van Garderen can be a Tour de France contender

by Shane Stokes at 5:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
“I think he has got unlimited potential as regards how far he can go.”

Tejay Van GarderenHe’s helped three riders to a combined total of nine Tour de France victories during his career and, according to George Hincapie, there’s reason to believe that his fellow American rider Tejay Van Garderen can develop into a contender for the sport’s biggest prize.

“I think we haven’t seen somebody like Tejay coming through the ranks in a long time,” Hincapie told VeloNation, speaking about his new BMC Racing team-mate. “What he has done already – second in the Dauphiné and holding the mountain jersey in the Tour de France for a couple of days is impressive. He is always really strong in the races that he is healthy and fit in. I think he has got unlimited potential as regards how far he can go.”

Van Garderen is still a very young rider, being just 23 years of age, yet he has already clocked up some impressive results. In 2008 he won a stage in the Tour de l’Avenir; in 2009 he finished second overall there, and in 2010 he stunned when he took third overall in the Critérium du Dauphiné, just months after turning pro. He was just 21 at the time.

Last year was also a very good one, with his performances including second overall on the Volta ao Algarve, second in the prologue of the Tour de Suisse, victory in the Tour of Utah time trial, third overall in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and fifth in the Tour of California.

Those performances give a clear indication as to his talent, particularly as he should naturally continue to improve over the next five or six seasons. When asked if he’ll be a Tour contender in a couple of years, Hincapie believes that to be the case. “Definitely so,” he answered. “He can time trial, he can climb, he can sprint… he is a very well-rounded cyclist.”

Van Garderen is an American rider but has Dutch ancestors. He competed as a Rabobank development squad rider in 2008 and 2009, then made the step up to the pro ranks with HTC Columbia in 2010. He quickly showed that he could handle the adjustment to the top level by netting ninth in the Volta ao Algarve and then second overall in the Presidental Tour of Turkey.

A runner-up slot behind Alberto Contador in the prologue of the Critérium du Dauphiné showed that his form was continuing to build, and he went on to take fourth in the 49 kilometre time trial, fifth on the stage to Sallanches and third overall in the race.

He spent a total of two years with the HTC squad, then transferred across to the BMC Racing Team after it became clear that Bob Stapleton’s team was stopping. Hincapie believes he’s one of the most promising of the new riders, and says he’s settling in well.

“I have got to know him in the last year or so,” he said. “He is excited to be on this team. We have been enjoying time together here.”

Hincapie has been on Tour de France winning teams with Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans. This year was expected to be his last in the peloton, but he recently told VeloNation that there’s a chance he will continue into the 2013 season. If so, he’ll continue to guide Van Garderen as the young American develops his promising Grand Tour potential.

Also see:

George Hincapie Feature: Heading towards a Tour de France record  
Tejay Van Garderen video interview (April 2011)


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