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"They were feeling bad for me but I was just thinking about all the kilometres they’d pulled in the wind for me."

Photo: Muscat Municipality/Paumer/B.Bade

TEJAY VAN GARDEREN

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24.07.2015 @ 06:24 Posted by Renaud Breban

Tejay van Garderen lived a difficult day on Wednesday. The BMC Racing Team leader had to leave the Tour de France due to an illness. Team officials wrapped their arms around his shoulders to comfort the 26-year-old American after he got off his bike on the third of the day's five climbs. He then got in the team car and rode to the finish.

 

Twenty-four hours after his withdraw, the American rider told how he lived stage 17: "I had been fighting this chest cold for a few days, took some antibiotics and thought that if I could get to the rest day then I would be fine but during the rest day I ran a little bit of a fever. It wasn’t huge, around 99.5. I though that if could get some food down, get a good night’s sleep and wake up the next morning then I could be okay."

After he finished fifth at the 2014 Tour de France, he wanted to aim the podium this year. But when he started stage 17, he knew it was over. "When I got out there the legs weren’t working. That just happens in the third week of a Grand Tour and I thought I could ride through it. I joust couldn’t do that yesterday. Maybe I could have lost a minute on the final climb but to lose time on the first climb, that was something more acute and hugely disappointing."

 

"It’s the Tour de France and it’s what you work all year for. At the time I thought that it was just a bad dream and that I would wake up and pin my number on. The hardest part was when I was getting in the bus. I got there before my teammates and I was sitting there and decompressing and thinking ‘okay that just happened’ but when my teammates came on the bus and I had to look them in the eye, that just killed me."

 

He regretted to leave the race: "They were feeling bad for me but I was just thinking about all the kilometres they’d pulled in the wind for me and what they sacrificed for me. Next year they said they would do the same again."

 

According to Cyclingnews, he will follow some rest days before to plan the second part of season. "I’m heading back to the apartment in Nice. My wife is coming and Jim Ochowicz is actually driving me back. I’ll then learn more about what my upcoming programme is and where we go from here. It’s all still pretty new and we still need to make a plan."

 

 

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