‘Future captain’ van Garderen extends with BMC Racing Team
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

‘Future captain’ van Garderen extends with BMC Racing Team

by VeloNation Press at 10:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Lelangue: “He has all the qualities to become a big tour winner in the future”

Tejay van GarderenA year after he signed multi-season deal to compete with the BMC Racing Team, Tejay van Garderen has further extended his contract.

The talented young American rider is being seen as someone who can lead the team in the Tour de France, with his fifth place and best young rider award in this year’s Tour underlining his class. He also finished second overall and won a stage in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, was a strong part of the team time trial squad which took silver at the world championships, and was also fourth in the individual test there.

“Tejay is the future captain of the BMC Racing Team and he plays a huge role in the organization,” said its president and general manager Jim Ochowicz today. “He already has a leadership role in the team and will remain a great teammate for Cadel Evans at next year's Tour de France.”

Evans will be 36 years of age next February and is clearly in the final years of his career. He’s hoping to return to his best for in 2013 and to again challenge for the Tour de France, but time is passing and the team will need to hand over the baton to his 24 year old successor at some point in the near future.

That may mean van Garderen will ride for him again next July, but it’s realistic to think that he could take over the Tour leadership role in 2014.

Before then, he’s got other ambitions for next season. “One goal I didn't reach was to win the general classification at a stage race,” he stated about this year, referring to the aforementioned performances and also his fourth in the Amgen Tour of California and fifth in Paris-Nice.

“I did come close a couple times. And my fifth place at the Tour de France was definitely the highlight of my year.”

The team hasn’t disclosed how long his new contract will run for, but BMC is backing the squad until the end of 2016. If the deal negotiated last year did indeed run until 2014, it seems possible that he has extended to remain there until the current sponsorship deal concludes.

He said that he’s very pleased to have the stability of a long-term contract to his name. “It definitely makes me able to focus on what's important, now that I know I'm secure for a few more years,” he explained. “My offseason has been really relaxing and I've been able to spend some quality time with my wife, Jessica, and our new puppy, Manzo.”

Giving a longer deal is good for van Garderen, but it also provides the team with security. As he ages and becomes stronger, he will be a valuable part of the team, and could go on to win the Tour for the squad. An extended deal protects the team from others swooping in, so the benefits work both ways.

One of those who will work closely with him next year is directeur sportif John Lelangue. He’s been impressed by what he’s seen thus far, and has full faith that he can go on to be one of the very best riders in the sport.

“He was very regular for us all year – very good in time trials and climbing and someone who could also find his place in the peloton,” the Belgian stated. “So he has all the qualities to become a big tour winner in the future. That's important for us. We're already building a team around him.”

The BMC Racing Team also includes another very strong young American, Taylor Phinney. While he isn’t seen as a future Tour winner, he has the potential to become the world’s best time trialist and to win Classics like Paris-Roubaix. Shorter stage races should also be within his scope.

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