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"Oman will be a good test. I am coming here to gain fitness and confidence," Tejay van Garderen of BMC told Cyclingnews

Photo: Sirotti






17.02.2014 @ 09:13 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Even if not sparkling, the last season of Tejay van Garderen can’t be regarded as a total disappointment, as the 25-year old American claimed overall victories of both Amgen Tour of California and USA Pro Challenge, events of a high importance for BMC team’s sponsors, and managed to finish every stage race he entered inside the top ten with only two exceptions.


Unfortunately, one of those two cases was the Tour the France, his personal objective for 2013, which certainly casted a shadow on the most recent performances of the young Tacoma-born rider. This year van Garderen wishes to make amends not only on his last achievements at the greatest of the grand tours, but to improve on his respectable result from 2012 when he finished fifth overall, as he kicks-off his 2014 season at the Tour of Oman, making his debut in that event.


While Australian veteran Cadel Evans is appointed to tackle Giro d’Italia as his major grand tour appearance in 2014, van Garderen will be handed a leadership role of the BMC squad at the Tour the France, certainly hoping to erase a huge feeling of disappointment left after the last performances of the American team in that event.


The 25-year old rider has shown some glimpses of good disposition during the last Tour edition only at the double Alpe d’Huez stage, but suffered badly on the final ascent eventually finishing second after Christophe Riblon of Ag2r-la Mondiale. This time, however, American cyclist believes everything should fall into right places as he feels satisfied with the preparation period he has undergone during the winter break.


The positive influence on the team’s philosophy caused by a change of their general manager after BMC’s failure at 100th Tour the France edition, visible in significantly improved results from the last months of 2013 season, also should serve as an additional boost to the morale during their French campaign.


"I am looking forward to getting back into the groove with the team," van Garderen said.


"I have trained well in sunny California and I feel like I am starting the season at a good level. I have had a lot less travel and commitments this winter, which allowed me to focus solely on the bike and time with the family.


"Oman will be a good test. I am coming here to gain fitness and confidence."


Van Garderen will be supported in Oman by the 2012 edition winner Peter Velits, who has ridden alongside the American for two seasons in the HTC outfit. Now Velits, who decided to join BMC team for 2014, is turning down his personal ambitions to support his leader in the coming event.


"I am not coming here with any specific ambition," Velits said.


"I just want to do a good race with the team. Dubai showed that the work we did during the winter was good, so I hope this race will confirm it." 

Because of the route entirely different than two previous, sprinter-friendly stints in the Persian Gulf, the BMC roster alike the one announced by Omega Pharma-Quick Step, will consist of GC contenders expected to perform strongly on mountain stages backed by classics specialists capable of doing well in sprints after long days of hard racing.


Joining Velits and van Garderen are five riders who recently made appearances at the Tour of Qatar, Marcus Burghardt, Philippe Gilbert, Martin Kohler, Michael Schär and Greg Van Avermaet. They will be joined by Dominik Nerz, who competed at the Tour de San Luis last month.


A rather obvious strategy for the Tour of Oman was confirmed by the BMC sports director Valerio Piva.


"We have more climbers here because of the profile," Piva said.


"I think we have more chances with Philippe and Greg, too. So it's possible we can do something for stages while we still have ambitions for the general classification."


BMC Racing Team Tour of Oman: Marcus Burghardt (GER), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Martin Kohler (SUI), Dominik Nerz (GER), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA) and Peter Velits (USA).



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