Tour de France: Tejay Van Garderen climbs into King of the Mountains lead
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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Tour de France: Tejay Van Garderen climbs into King of the Mountains lead

by VeloNation Press at 8:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Young American shows his class in maiden Tour de France

Tejay Van Garderen Tour de France KOMHTC-Highroad's Tejay Van Garderen put in a stellar performance in today's stage eight of the Tour de France.  He was part of the feature break on the day and managed to climb his way to the top of the King of the Mountains competition.  With stage eight's route not one for the team's sprinter Mark Cavendish, the 22 year old was given clearance to try his own chances in what is his first Tour de France participation.

Van Garderen, who is currently tied on mountain points with the day's stage winner Rui Costa (Movistar), powered his way to KOM line of the stage's most difficult climb, the Col de la Croix Saint-Robert, to earn himself the polka dot jersey.  The American showed he had good legs, putting in several attacks up the penultimate category two climb but, with his companions on notice of his form, the HTC-Highroad rider was left to close gaps for many of the counter attacks.

"It's my first Tour de France so I'm very pleased with my performance," Van Garderen said after the stage.  "I was trying to go for the stage win, but the group was not working together so well and I maybe got a little too nervous."

In the end, Van Garderen ended up emptying his tank on the way to the finish in Super-Besse, but also gained valuable experience on cycling's biggest stage in his first opportunity.

"I tried for the King of the Mountains jersey, got that, but I didn't quite have the legs to chase Rui Costa down after he attacked," he added.  Costa used his experience and, along with a little luck, he crossed the finish line just 12 seconds before a charging Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) led the group of favorites home.

"Still, it's great to have the polka-dot jersey," he reflected.

Van Garderen will be donning the King of the Mountains jersey tomorrow accompanied by another special prize awarded by the Tour de France race jury.  He was given the prize for the Most Combative Rider during stage eight, and will wear a red number to signify his aggressive performance on the final two climbs.

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