Van Garderen, Gilbert set out goals for Vuelta al Pais Vasco
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Friday, March 29, 2013

Van Garderen, Gilbert set out goals for Vuelta al Pais Vasco

by Shane Stokes at 7:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta al Pais Vasco
 
BMC Racing Team duo join impressive race lineup

Tejay van GarderenDays after finishing third overall in the Critérium International, Tejay van Garderen will continue to push for an increase in form by riding the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

The BMC Racing Team rider will line out in the WorldTour race on Monday keen to see what he can do against the competition there. “I can't say this race has been a big target of mine going into the season, but it would be good to test myself a little bit,” he said. “Looking at the stage profiles, they all look pretty hard. Stage three – with its summit finish – looks like an interesting one. And obviously the time trial on the last day is something I will go for.”

Van Garderen has ridden three stage races this season and has placed highly in each of them. He was second in the season-opening Tour de San Luis, then went on to finish fourth in Paris-Nice and third in last weekend’s Critérium du Dauphiné.

He’s still just 24 years of age and has emerged as one of the most promising stage race riders in the sport. Fifth in last year’s Tour de France, he will hope to build on that this July, unless Cadel Evans can get back to the form which won him the race in 2011.

Van Garderen will be joined by world champion Philippe Gilbert in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. He said yesterday that he would miss this Sunday’s Ronde van Vlaanderen, which the lingering effects of a cold he picked up in Paris-Nice and a desire to build form in advance of the Ardennes Classics prompting the Belgian to make the programme change.

“This is the best race to prepare for the Ardennes classics, which are my main goal,” Gilbert explained. “I need a stage race where I can go hard on the climbs.”

He’ll certainly get plenty of those, with the Basque race set to include 31 categorised climbs.

It also features a 24 kilometre time trial that Van Garderen wants to test himself in.

The duo will be backed by Brent Bookwalter, Steve Cummings, Martin Kohler, Amaël Moinard, Dominik Nerz and Larry Warbasse.

The Vuelta al Pais Vasco will include plenty of big names, with the startlist including Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel Euskadi), Richie Porte (Sky), Tony Martin (Omega Pharma Quick Step), Chris Horner and Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Denis Menchov (Katusha), Alberto Contador, Nicolas Roche and Roman Kreuziger (Team Saxo Tinkoff), Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Jurgen van den Broeck (Lotto Belisol), Ryder Hesjedal, Tom Danielson, Christian Vande Velde and Peter Stetina (Garmin Sharp) and Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil DCM).

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