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AMAEL MOINARD

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NEWS

BRENT BOOKWALTER

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NEWS

DOMINIK NERZ

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NEWS

IVAN SANTAROMITA

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MATHIAS FRANK

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PARIS - NICE

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PHILIPPE GILBERT

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TEJAY VAN GARDEREN

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NEWS
28.02.2013 @ 11:51 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

 

With a 5th place and victory in the young rider classification, BMCs Tejay van Garderen had a strong showing in last year's Paris-Nice. When the race kicks off the European WorldTour calendar on Sunday, he aims at doing even better, and he will have a team solely dedicated to the objective.

 

Much has been said about the rivalry between Cadel Evans and Tejay van Garderen as the two compete for the role as team captain when the BMC Racing Team lines up in the Tour de France next summer. The team has tried to avoid further discussion by making separate calendars for their two GC stars, and they will only race together once in the lead-up to the French Grand Tour - in Criterium International which takes place on Corsica in the end of March.

 

Both captains will get their first chance to prove their worth as GC contenders on the highest level in the coming weeks where they have divided the two first European WorldTour races between them. While Cadel Evans will try to repeat his 2011 victory in Tirreno-Adriatico, Tejay van Garderen lines up as the undisputed captain of the BMC team in Paris-Nice on Sunday.

 

Van Garderen has only competed once this season when he participated in January's Tour de San Luis. He surprised himself by being much stronger on the climbs than he expected, but delivered a below par performance in the time trial. While the race against the clock is normally his greatest asset, his strong climbing in San Luis may prove to be beneficial on a route which favors the climbers over the TT specialists.

 

"My climbing was good in San Luis, and I feel it has only improved," van Garderen said. "Plus, the type of climbs we will see in Paris-Nice suit my ability. The time trials aren't normal, with only a 2.9-kilometer prologue there shouldn't be too big of gaps. The uphill time trial (on the last stage) will shrink the advantage I have over the climbers. But our performance team has worked hard to get the best equipment setup dialed in, so we should be prepared."

 

Paris-Nice is known as the race to the sun and often starts out in harsh weather conditions near the French capital before it takes on its journey towards the summer conditions on the Mediterranean coast.  With strong classics riders Philippe Gilbert and Daniel Oss at his side, Van Garderen is not afraid of the possibilities of bad weather causing havoc in the opening days. "I'm not too worried about it, and I have a strong group of guys to protect me in the windy stages," he said.

 

The team will be solely dedicated to the objective of giving van Garderen the best possibilities for a strong overall performance in France. He will be supported by strong, in-form climbers like Amael Moinard, Mathias Frank, Dominik Nerz and Ivan Santaromita while allrounder Brent Bookwalter should be able to lend a hand in all terrains. His strong performance in last year's edition and his encouraging early season form justifies this one-eyed approach according to sport director John Lelangue.

 

"We are bringing a strong team totally dedicated to Tejay," Lelangue said. "There is never pressure, but we are going to Paris-Nice to win. With Tejay and the progress he has made in the last season, and also what he has done during the winter, and what we have seen him do in Argentina, we are going there to make a good result."

 

For world road race champion Philippe Gilbert, Paris-Nice only serves as training and preparation for the upcoming spring classics. With Milan-Sanremo fast approaching, he will use the race to gauge his form, and he is encouraged by what he has seen from himself so far.

 

"This race is one of the nicest on the calendar and also a very important one to step up my condition with a hard week on the bike," he said. "I hope to do a nice prologue and give my best to protect Tejay. I am doing much better now than I was 12 months ago."

 

Paris-Nice starts on Sunday with a short, technical 3,9 km prologue. After a number of flat and undulating stages, the battle for GC reaches its climax with the mountaintop finish on Montagne de Lure on Friday, a hard mountain stage in the climbs around Nice on Saturday and the final, legendary time trial up Col d'Eze on Sunday.

 

BMC Racing Team for Paris-Nice: 

Tejay van Garderen, Mathias Frank, Amael Moinard, Ivan Santaromita, Dominik Nerz, Brent Bookwalter, Philippe Gilbert and Daniel Oss

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