Van Garderen believes TT equipment choice could be crucial for Tour of California chances
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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Van Garderen believes TT equipment choice could be crucial for Tour of California chances

by VeloNation Press at 6:08 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California
American psyched for race, Gilbert hoping for stage win

Tejay van GarderenGetting his Tour of California underway today, Tejay van Garderen has said that equipment choice for the stage six time trial could be crucial for his and other riders’ chances in the race.

The BMC Racing Team rider finished fifth overall in 2011 and then went one place closer to the podium last season. He has identified the race as one of his top goals for the season, and knows that the race against the clock could well be the separator in the race.

“I got a chance to check out the time trial course and the Mount Diablo course,” he said. “The time trial is going to be interesting…it is a pretty normal time trial for the first 27, 28 k, and then it just finishes up a 3k wall.

“So it is going to be also a battle of equipment, gearing, [a question of] whether or not you are going to take a bike change or if you are just going to sacrifice weight for aerodynamics or vice versa. So it is going to be a lab experience, a kind of a science test a little bit.”

Van Garderen and his team will weigh up the options prior to that test, seeking to make the fastest possible choice. The following day is the tough Mount Diablo summit finish, a stage which he says is sure will be hard, but long before then he has identified another day which could be problematic for some.

“The one I didn’t get a chance to recon is stage two. From what I am hearing, that is going to catch a lot of people by surprise,” he said.

Van Garderen has shown solid form thus far this year, starting off very well with second overall in the Tour de San Luis and then netting third overall in Critérium International and fourth overall in Paris-Nice.

Those results have been encouraging for him, but he also needs to nail down a big win in order to show himself and others that he has moved to the next level. Taking the final overall victory in the Tour of California would be a huge plus for the career of the 24 year old.

He is clear that the BMC Racing Team chances don’t hinge on him alone, though. “We have got a really strong team here with guys who can be successful on any sort of terrain. We have Thor Hushovd who can probably win a stage in a bunch sprint, we have Philippe [Gilbert] who can win a stage on a harder rolling day,” he said.

“I am going to try for GC, and there is a good list of people who can really fight for GC here, with Mick Rogers and Dave Zabriskie. Maybe I am considered one of the favourites but it is bike racing, there are always surprises.

“You look to last year and nobody was looking at Robert Gesink as one of the favourites and he ended up winning, and nobody thought that Jens Voigt was going to be beat me in the time trial and he did. It is bike racing and anything can happen…”

Team-mate Gilbert is still trying to take his first win as UCI world road race champion, and went close with runner-up slots on stage six of Paris-Nice and in the Brabantse Pijl semi-Classic. Since the latter he was fifth in the Amstel Gold Race, fifteenth in Flèche Wallone and seventh in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He had hoped to perform better there, and that will have made him all the more determined to do something in California.

“This is my first race after the Classics. I was training pretty hard in the last days and we travelled here,” he said, talking about his condition. “I think we are okay with the jet lag and climate. I hope to be there for a stage win and to help Tejay to make a good result in the GC. We will see. We will have different chances in this next week and it will be exciting.”

BMC Racing Team for Tour of California (May 12-19):

Brent Bookwalter (USA), Mathias Frank (SUI), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Thor Hushovd (NOR), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Marco Pinotti (ITA), Michael Schär (SUI), Tejay van Garderen (USA).


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