Van Garderen & Richie Porte. Who is Alpha?
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.