Endurance: Tejay van Garderen

Tejay van Garderen named cycling's 2014 North American Man of the Year

December, 30, 2014
Tejay van GarderenChris Graythen/Getty ImagesA win at the USA Pro Challenge was part of a successful 2014 season for Tejay van Garderen and the BMC team.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of Velo magazine, the annual awards issue.

Ask Tejay van Garderen about the best single moment of his 2014 season, and he may give you a different answer depending on the day.

Over a one-week span in late October, van Garderen (BMC Racing) provided two VeloNews editors with two different answers, first citing his mountaintop stage win at Vallter during the Volta a Catalunya, and later citing his mountaintop stage win at Monarch Mountain in Colorado during the USA Pro Challenge.

At Catalunya, in March, van Garderen beat the best GC riders in the sport -- Nairo Quintana, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador -- on a day marked by rain, snow and 20K of climbing.

“I think a lot of guys saw me as a good climber who can ride tempo, but to win like that, that was important,” van Garderen said. “Okay, it wasn’t the Tour de France, and maybe everyone wasn’t on their best form, but to win like that, on a real summit finale, that was a big confidence boost, to show that I could climb like that against those guys.”

At the Pro Challenge, in August, van Garderen responded to several attacks from Tour of Utah winner Tom Danielson, and then held off Tour de France King of the Mountains winner Rafal Majka to take victory and the race lead, which he would not relinquish.

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Van Garderen hits reset button in France

July, 10, 2013
Tejay van GarderenBryn Lennon/Getty ImagesAmerican Tejay van Garderen has fallen more than 35 minutes off the lead at the Tour de France.
SAINT-MALO, France -- Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) didn't expect to be starting the second half of the Tour de France parked in 50th, more than 35 minutes behind the yellow jersey.

Eleven days ago on Corsica, van Garderen started his third Tour as an outsider for the podium. Two brutal days in the Pyrénées surprisingly saw van Garderen languishing off the back, when normally he would be right in the front row, trading punches with the big boys.

Speaking to VeloNews before the start of Tuesday's 10th stage, van Garderen said he was still at a loss about what happened in the Pyrénées.

"I would have liked to have been better. I don't really have an answer to why," Van Garderen said. "I am not going to make any excuses. The legs were not there for some reason."

Last year, van Garderen was one of the revelations of the Tour, becoming the third American to win the white jersey en route to placing fifth overall.

After winning the Amgen Tour of California in May, many expected van Garderen to pick up where he left off last year. BMC was backing Cadel Evans, but van Garderen would have a free ride.

Things went sideways, however, when van Garderen lost contact on the hors-categorie Pailhères climb, the first major test of the 2013 Tour.

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Mark CavendishBryn Lennon/Getty ImagesMark Cavendish wasn't shy in celebrating his win in Stage 5 last week. (Enough with the Brits, already!)
Random thoughts after the first rest day of the Tour de France while hoping that I’m never behind the Orica-Greenedge team bus heading into a tunnel ...

Sigh. Maybe It’s Time For 7-Eleven To Sponsor A Team Again: The Tour’s individual stage winners, in order, have been Germany’s Marcel Kittel, Belgium’s Jan Bakelants, Australia’s Simon Gerrans, England’s Mark Cavendish, Germany’s Andre Greipel, Slovakia’s Peter Sagan, Britain’s Chris Froome (who was born in Kenya and grew up in Africa), Ireland’s Dan Martin and Kittel again. The yellow jersey has been worn by Kittel, Bakelants, Gerrans, South Africa’s Daryl Impey and Froome. That’s a pretty impressive United Nations of riders, representing eight countries (and two from Africa), if you count Kenya for Froome.

Two countries conspicuously absent? The United States and France.

A French rider, of course, hasn’t won the Tour since 1985, though France did win five stages last year and Thomas Voeckler was in yellow for 10 stages in 2011. American riders, however, have won only one stage in the past six Tours (sprinter Tyler Farrar, Stage 3 in 2011) and haven’t had anyone in yellow since Floyd Landis in 2006 -- a jersey he was quickly stripped of because of doping. Technically, the last American in yellow was Greg LeMond in 1991.

The U.S. won’t have anyone in yellow this year either, though Andrew Talansky, the current top American in the standings (25th and 11:15 behind Froome), could wear white as the top young rider.

Meanwhile, Christian Vande Velde crashed out and Ted King was eliminated by falling seven seconds outside the limit in the team time trial. Tejay van Garderen, perhaps the most promising American rider heading into the Tour, suffered from the heat in a terrible Stage 8 and is 50th, 35 minutes behind. Tom Danielson and Brent Bookwalter are the only other Americans still in the race.

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Van Garderen set for final Tour tuneup

June, 6, 2013
van GarderenHarry How/Getty ImagesFresh off his Tour of California win, Tejay van Garderen enters Tour de Suisse as the favorite.
After Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) earned his first major stage race win at the Amgen Tour of California last month, it was probably more difficult to recover from the media attention -- multiple magazine requests for cover shots, for example -- and life as a new father than it was to recover from the eight-stage tour.

But such is the weight of expectation and attention for the 24-year-old van Garderen now.

Last year, he captivated American fans by riding to fifth place in the Tour de France, earning the best young rider's jersey in the process. By winning the Tour of California this year, he finally confirmed what everyone already knew: he was an all-around contender, looking to find the stop step, rather than continue his flurry of top-fives at major races like Paris-Nice, where he finished fourth this year and fifth last season.

Now, van Garderen is looking to hone his July form with a win at the Tour de Suisse.

"I would say right now I am at 95 percent. I'll use this month to get that extra five percent going into the Tour de France. I definitely have more confidence having won a race. But we still have a month before we get there," van Garderen said. "I'm definitely feeling stronger. I also feel like I have stepped it up in every race I have done this year compared to last year."

He's all in for the Tour: he skipped the U.S. national races -- where he likely would have won the time trial -- in order to work with his BMC teammates on the team time trial, which could factor hugely at the Tour de France.

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Evans, van Garderen to race 'mini Tour'

March, 21, 2013
Cadel EvansAP Photo/Laurent CiprianiCadel Evans will be joined by teammate Tejay van Garderen at the Criterium International.
LEON, Spain -- Many of the Tour de France favorites head to Corsica this weekend in the two-day Criterium International that also serves as a preview of what awaits them this summer.

With the 2013 Tour's grand depart set for the Mediterranean island of Corsica, this weekend's race provides many of the Tour favorites a chance to scout the stages they will face during the first three stages of the 100th Tour.

Headlining the field is defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing). Along with his stage win at the Criterium du Dauphine, Criterium International was among Evans' few trips last year to the winner's podium.

The two-day, three-stage race is also the only time Evans will line up alongside teammate Tejay van Garderen this season before the Tour.

"It's really important for both of us, as it is important to race with everyone whom you ride with at the Tour before the Tour," Evans said in a team release. "I look forward to racing with him and getting to know him a bit better in our steps toward a good performance at the Tour."

Evans and van Garderen have split their racing schedule approaching the Tour, in part to give the team GC cards to play across the calendar.

After Criterium, van Garderen's next major goals will be the Amgen Tour of California and the Tour de Suisse ahead of a return to Corsica in late June, while Evans will head to the Tour de Romandie and the Dauphine.

The race is often a called "mini Tour de France," and for this year's edition, that's more the case than ever.

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Tour of California will go south-to-north

November, 27, 2012
Tour of California Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesThe 2013 race will start in Escondido and cover approximately 750 miles from May 12-19.
For the first time in race history, the Amgen Tour of California will work its way from south to north and top out on Mount Diablo, a legendary California climb, in 2013.

The eighth version of the race will cover 750 miles from May 12-19. The tour departs Escondido, just north of San Diego, with the stage 1 start and finish in the San Diego County city, which hosted the overall finish in 2009. The race will also travel from Murrieta to Palm Springs for stage 2, Palmdale to Santa Clarita on stage 3, Santa Clarita to Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara to Avila Beach before the stage 6 individual time trial in San Jose. The penultimate stage will see the peloton ride from Livermore to Mount Diablo before the finale from San Francisco to Santa Rosa.

Without more specific route details, it’s hard to say where race-breaking moments could occur outside of the individual time trial and Mount Diablo. At 11.2 miles and 3,200 feet of ascension, it’s nearly certain the race will be won or lost on Diablo’s slopes.

American Tejay van Garderen will be an early favorite to win the overall, as the BMC Racing man finished fifth overall in the Tour de France last summer and took second place in the Colorado USA Pro Challenge. He finished fourth overall in California last year after suffering on the Mount Baldy stage.

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