The BMC Racing Team will put all of its support behind Tejay van Garderen at Paris-Nice in a quest to get last year’s best young rider and fifth-place finisher at the race an even better result, Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said.
“We are bringing a strong team totally dedicated to Tejay,” Lelangue said of the eight-day race that begins Sunday with a prologue time trial. “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.” World road champion Philippe Gilbert, who has been training with van Garderen this week, will be joined by Tour of Qatar runner-up Brent Bookwalter, past Paris-Nice King of the Mountains and stage winner Amaël Moinard, plus three riders who helped van Garderen finish runner-up last month at the Tour de San Luis: Mathias Frank, Dominik Nerz and Daniel Oss. Ivan Santaromita, who will make his fifth career start at the race, rounds out the squad.
Van Garderen Climbing Well
While van Garderen has only raced once this season, he said he feels good about his form, having spent the past several weeks training in California. “My climbing was good in San Luis, and I feel it has only improved,” he 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.” Van Garderen said the weather, which is sometimes a factor at the first WorldTour calendar race in Europe, is not a concern. “I’m not too worried about it and I have a strong group of guys to protect me in the windy stages,” he said.
Preparation Race For Gilbert
Gilbert said he is pleased with the way his season has started. His results include third on a stage of the Santos Tour Down Under and helping Cadel Evans finish third at the Tour of Oman as the BMC Racing Team won the team classification. “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.”
Download the BMC Racing Team’s official race sheet (PDF with roster, bios, statistics, etc.):
BMC Racing Team Paris-Nice Roster (March 3-10):
Brent Bookwalter (USA), Mathias Frank (SUI), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Dominik Nerz (GER), Daniel Oss (ITA), Ivan Santaromita (ITA), Tejay van Garderen (USA).