Looking at the early years of Tejay van Garderen’s ten-year professional career, you might be forgiven for expecting more from this tall and talented American.
Victories at the Tour of California (2013), the occasional time-trial win and one road stage of the Giro (2017) seem scant reward from a rider who promised much yet flattered to deceive. Fifth overall at both the 2012 and 2014 Tours strongly suggested podium positions would surely follow. It never happened.
One discipline, however, where Van Garderen can be called upon to do the business with unfailing regularity is the team time trial, including today’s 35.5km thrash in Cholet.
BMC are the modern era’s masters: twice world champions, winners of the last Tour de France TTT in 2015, plus the Vuelta in the same year and again in 2017 – and that’s just their major wins.
Van Garderen is a key part of their strongman formation, and unsurprisingly led the men in red across the line to put Greg van Avermaet into yellow and gain a few more seconds for team leader Richie Porte.
Should he stay fit for the individual time-trial on stage 20, the American is an outside bet for the win – or for a lengthy stay in the hot seat, at least.
Until then, another TTT win and a banana will do nicely. Go Tejay!
The Rouleur Top Banana goes to an unsung hero of each stage of the Tour de France – not the winner, not the yellow jersey – but a rider whose efforts deserve recognition