Tejay Van Garderen: «Maybe on the podium»

news02.03.2013Pre-race

Fifth last year before being crowned the best young rider in the Tour de France American Tejay Van Garderen is back on Paris-Nice with higher ambitions as the leader of the super-strong BMC team. While he forecasts ¬ęa tight race¬Ľ, he clearly rates himself among the leading favourites to finish on the podium in Nice.

You had a good start to the season in Argentina…

 

It was not a bad way to start. It was a hard race and it just showed I did a good winter of training and I should be ready to go now here in Paris Nice

 

How important is Paris-Nice for you?  You finished 5th last year so what is your ambition?

 

It's an important one. It's a good goal. I'd love to do well. I'd love to go a little higher. Maybe on the podium… There's still some good competition here. Lieuwe Westra, who was second last year, is back and Talansky will be hard to beat along with a few other guys, Gesink, Kloeden, so it's not going to be an easy race but I feel good with where I'm at and I'm going to give it my best shot.

 

You checked the Col d'Eze last week. What for?

 

I raced it last year and I was doing some testing figuring out what equipment to use. Our team did a good job with our performance directors to figure out what equipment is going to be the best and so now that gives me more confidence going into it that we're making the right choices.

 

Do you think that last time trial will be the decider?

 

Anything can decide this race, that's the thing with Paris-Nice. If you get a  day into crosswinds like last year when you had 20 guys going away and if you were not in that group then you were not going to win. Then you have the Col d'Eze time trial, the Montagne de Lure. Any day of this race can be crucial.

 

What do you know about the Montagne de Lure ?

 

I just watched the 2009 race on Youtube when Contador won there. I've never ridden it but it looks like a hard climb.

 

Did your fine season last year give you more ambition, more pressure?

 

I just did my training the same way I do every year. Of course I want to win, of course I want to do well in everything I do. But I wouldn't say that because I had success, it made me want it more, I already wanted it pretty bad, so… I'm doing the same thing I've always been doing.

 

But you have a plan and major goals this season?

 

Paris-Nice is already a big goal and after that I go to the Criterium International and then Pays Basque. And California will be a big goal and the Tour de Suisse, Colorado and the U.S. Pro Challenge. It's going to be a similar season to last year. I have some good goals and some good races I'm aiming for.

 

How does it feel to be in arguably the strongest team in the peloton? 

 

It feels good. To have such a strong team makes my life easier. I can go into the days like the nervous days in the wind far more relaxed because we have so many guys with so much experience able to handle themselves on those hectic days. It takes the pressure off a little bit because this team's already got three wins this year so it's not like the pressure is on me or Cadel or Philippe to deliver the results because we have won races already, Brent Bookwalter has won a race already.

 

Do you see yourself as the number one favourite? 

 

I mentioned  a bunch of riders earlier. We're all pretty much on the same level. Like Talansky, Porte, Kloeden, Gesink, Fuglsang, myself. I would say we're all favourites but I wouldn't put one above the other. It's going to be a tight race.

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video02/03/2013 

Tejay Van Garderen : "Maybe the podium"

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Jersey wearers after the stage 7

Classifications after the stage 7

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