Fab Four or Fab Five?
After an impressive first seven stages in the Tour de France, BMC’s Tejay van Garderen finds himself in third place just 13 seconds off the time of race leader Chris Froome.
This success has Van Garderen thinking big and today at the press conference after stage 7 he stated that that the Fab Four is now the Fab Five. Or maybe he didn’t and perhaps we just made this up.
No matter. So far there hasn’t been a yes or no response from the Fab Four themselves. Chris Froome (SKY), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) remain tight-lipped and refused to say whether the four would consider a fifth member.
Van Garderen began the race just outside the Fab Four along with French hope Thibaut Pinot. However, the Frenchman has suffered through significant time losses and one hissy fit and is now six minutes behind the leaders and far from contention.
“I think I deserve it, I think I’m in the group now,” Van Garderen might possibly have said. “What’s the difference really between the Fab Four and the Fab Five — the alliteration is still there. I mean seriously, it’s not like a formal club with a lot of regulations about who gets in and who doesn’t.”
BMC team manager Jim Ochowicz supports Van Garderen in his effort to increase the size of the top contenders to the Fab Five. “Really, it’s just an artificial tag and those four guys are not the Beatles, they’re professional cyclists. So why not make it the Fab Five?”
A quick informal poll of journalists covering the Tour de France concluded with most saying they’d be happy to make the switch to the Fab Five. Speaking for cyclingnews, Barry Ryan was happy to consider the change.
“This is sports writing, it’s supposed to be fun and entertaining. We make these things up all the time. The Manx Missile, El Pistolero, The Shark from Messina — really, we can write whatever we want,” said Ryan. “I’m good with the Fab Five.”
However, there does appear to be some resistance to the idea of promoting Van Garderen and increasing the size of the Fab Four. “I am against it, it is disrespectful and I have already issued a stern message to the UCI about such matters,” said Astana boss Alexander Vinokourov. “Who does Van Garderen think he is? The Fab Four must remain the Fab Four.”
Asked for comment, Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkof was also against the idea. “To me there is only a Fab One, Alberto. He is tackling the Giro-Tour double and nobody else has the balls to do it,” said Tinkof, “If Van Garderen had ridden the Giro, done a top ten, maybe. But Froome, Nibali, Quintana — what makes them so fab. Give me the definition of fab because I bet you a million rubles they’re not in there.”
So far the UCI has taken no position on the Fab Four or its expansion to the Fab Five. “This is not a matter for the governing body to decide,” said Serge Rigoler, a spokesman for the UCI. “This is simply a marketing device that we have nothing to do with.”
However, Van Garderen plans to push his case all the way to Paris. “It’s the Fab Five now. That’s what I’m saying. I tell my guys — spread the word to everybody in the peloton. Fab Five, repeat it,” said Van Garderen, maybe, possibly, kinda sorta.