LEEDS, United Kingdom, July 03, 2014 (AFP) – American hopeful Tejay Van
Garderen says he is not setting himself specific objectives at the Tour de
France, which begins in Leeds on Saturday.
The 25-year-old was a major sensation two years ago when he beat teammate
and defending champion Cadel Evans to finish fifth overall, as the Australian
limped home in seventh behind British winner Bradley Wiggins.
Van Garderen also won the best young rider category but the next year,
riding as joint team leader with Evans, the American was a huge
disappointment, finishing 45th.
So now, he is not setting himself any goals other than simply doing his
“No number, every year’s different, 2012 that was a special year, I’d be
happy with a repeat of that but I’m not going to name what place would make me
happy on GC (general classification),” Van Garderen told a pre-race press
conference in Leeds.
“I just want to prove to myself and the team that I can stack up to three
weeks of hard racing and that I am a Grand Tour rider, and just explore the
possibilities, try my best and see where I end up.
“If I say I want to finish on the podium (top three) and I end up in fourth
place, that would be a disappointment and I’m not going to say that. I just
want to see how far I can go.”
Two years ago Van Garderen was Australian Evans’s domestique while last
year they were joint leaders.
This time around, though, the BMC team is built entirely around the
American rider, while Evans isn’t even on the team having ridden the Giro
Yet Van Garderen, whose best result this year was second to Tour champion
Chris Froome at the Tour of Oman, doesn’t feel any extra pressure now that he
is his team’s undisputed number one.
“It’s definitely a different team dynamic without Cadel here but as far as
pressure goes, pressure’s just a made up thing,” he said.
“It’s just going to be down to when it comes down to the last couple of km
on a summit finish, it’s do you have the legs or not have the legs.
“As far as pressure goes, there’s not any more or less.”