Van Garderen & Richie Porte. Who is Alpha?

Tejay, Alpha dog?

Tejay, Alpha dog?

Fun and insightful story from Fred Dreier over at Velonews. His basic premise — if American Tejay van Garderen doesn’t win this rival-lite edition of the Tour de Suisse on a course well suited to his skills, then BMC teammate Rickie Porte goes to France with a clear lead in the “I’m plan A” sweepstakes.

In our view, that’s a strong thesis. Porte has been red hot, the only human being capable to sticking with two-time Tour champion Froome on the climbs in the Dauphiné. He’s dialed in for Le Grand Shindig and heads to the Grand Départ with plenty of confidence.

Meanwhile, van Garderen is under the microscope at the Tour de Suisse. He’s the first to say he needs to show some results and make an impact on the race. A podium, a big mountain stage win where he powers away from everybody with smile on face. Fingers in the nose type stuff.

However, based on the evidence from today’s stage to Amden, there’s some legitimate question on whether van Garderen is indeed ready for July 2nd when superstars Froome, Contador, Quintana and Aru all line up in pursuit of the final maillot jaune.

Van Garderen was dropped 4 kilometers from the summit and rolled in over six minutes behind stage winner Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot – Orange Peloton. He now finds himself in the unlucky 13th place on GC. That’s probably not what he had in mind.

Now, no reason to panic. There is still tomorrow’s summit finish and HC fun at Sölden, a 16.8 TT for his pleasure and the final to Davos that includes two meaty-size mountains. Lots of opportunity to impress and build confidence for Le Tour.

Still, today can’t have been a thrill for van Garderen, who would like to go to France feeling strong and well-entrenched at BMC as option A+. As Dreier’s Velonews story makes clear, the two captain, double prong attack can often lead to great things — witness Quintana and Valverde in last year’s Tour. Van Garderen’s steady diesel engine and Porte’s more punchy accelerations give BMC plenty of strategic options.

Let’s see if van Garderen goes all Alpha before the Tour de Suisse is over.

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  • The SuperStorm

    Well, I’m not sure what “Och” has in his bag of tricks for Le Shindig.
    If “TJ Hooker” can stay healthy and do well in the TT’s, he could be a threat for a podium finish. It’s a big “IF” though. Consistency has always been TeeJay’s biggest obstacle.
    That said, he is a skilled rider, and “On Any Given Day!”

    Sometimes I Think Fred “Blow” Dreier has altitude poisoning living in The PRCB!

    If the Porte hole is to lead the team they will certainly need some great lieutenants like Teej to keep with him in the mountains. “The Kid” Phinney may mix up the flat stages but he just doesn’t have it in the hills. He should be careful as well if he’s prepping for a shot at gold in Rio. Climbing all those mountains may do more harm than good for him.
    I wouldn’t have sent Taylor to Le Tour. He needs speed work and a lot of it to prepare for Rio.
    it will be interesting to see how BMC performs this year…

    • Yes, the juggling act is just that. But, so far, so good with Porte and Van Garderen. They seem like they get along. Matt