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“If I ride the absolute perfect race and I end up fifth, I’ll have to be happy with that but I’m aiming for at least two spots higher."

Photo: Sirotti

TEJAY VAN GARDEREN

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03.07.2015 @ 18:10 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After his splendid second place in the Criterium du Dauphiné, Tejay van Garderen has been elevated from outsider to solid podium contender at the Tour de France. The result has boosted his confidence and he refuses to settle for another fifth place after he finished in that position in both 2012 and 2014.

 

“No I wouldn’t,” he told reporters yesterday according to Cyclingnews. “If I ride the absolute perfect race and I end up fifth, I’ll have to be happy with that but I’m aiming for at least two spots higher.

“I feel great. This is the best I’ve ever felt. The Dauphine was good and I took a lot of confidence out of that. Since then I’ve spent a bit of time at altitude, a bit of time at my base in Nice and every workout and training ride has given me really good sensations. I’m here with the team and we’re gelling well and staying relaxed. I’m looking forward to getting it started.

“I just want to ride a perfect race. That’s not to lose on any pitfall that may arise. Being a specialist in the time trial, Saturday is a chance to gain. The distance isn’t perfect for me but it’s longer than a prologue so that’s an opportunity.

 

“Last year, I came into the Tour always on the back foot. That hip fracture in Romandie meant I had to try to fast-forward everything, cram in training, and put on fitness quickly. This year, I’ve been able to go about things at a proper pace. I feel much more well-rounded and relaxed. My strong result in June confirms that I did the work properly. All around I feel a little bit stronger.”

 

“Is the podium possible? Absolutely,” BMC Racing general manager Jim Ochowicz said at the pre-race press conference. “This is the best Tejay we’ve ever seen.

 

“We’ve never seen Tejay climbing so good. He stayed close to Froome, closer than he did before. In previous years, he would get gapped out 30 to 40 seconds. At the Dauphiné, he was only 10 seconds behind. And the way he’s riding now, maybe he can close that gap, and even counter. I think if he can avoid trouble and get into the mountains, he can stay with the best. We’ll have the team to protect him.”

 

 

“I believe it’s possible Tejay can finish on the podium,” his teammate Manuel Quinziato added. “After how we saw him race at the Dauphiné, everyone is excited to work for Tejay. We have a very strong team here for the Tour.”

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