Is Rolf Aldag a fan of old school punk ska?
The tall and always smiling German Director Sportif of HTC-Columbia must be familiar with the seminal 80’s English ska outfit Selector. How else to explain his savvy plan to take the 22 year old Tejay Van Garderen to the Vuelta but with no pressure to perform or even finish the grand tour.
“Tejay will have the freedom to do everything, and that includes quitting the race after ten days if he feels tired. It’s a grand Tour, it’s three weeks of racing and we don’t want to kill him,” Aldag told cyclingnews. Never kill young riders, they never ride as fast after death.
“Too much pressure, this pressure got to stop,” sang Pauline Black of The Selector back in the day, the day being the early 80’s. With raucous dance hits like “Three Minute Hero” and “On My Radio,” the band was one of the top 2 Tone Ska revival bands. Plus the pork pie hats were cool and Desmond Brown was on the Hammond organ making everything one big rollicking party.
So thanks to Aldag and his secret affection for The Selector, there’s no pressure for young Tejay to destroy himself trying to make an impression. “The Vuelta will be a learning process for Tejay,” Aldag told Cyclingnews. “We have to be careful with a young rider like him. There was a lot of internal discussion in the team about whether or not to send him to the Vuelta.” Not to mention the extra cost of food, drink and hotel charges.
During the Tour de France, Versus analyst Robbie Ventura told me Van Garderen is the real deal. After all, he was third at the Criterium du Dauphiné June and nailed a fourth place at the Tour de l’Ain race in France. Tejay may soon be joining Tyler Farrar in filling the Hole That Lance Made with his second retirement.
One of the secrets of success for young American riders is apparently not having a crazy personal life. Farrar is settled with his long-time girlfriend while Tejay’s life is also lacking in drama.
“Tejay’s private life and his training have been very stable and that meant we didn’t need a full year to figure out his racing or training schedules. There’s been a lot of continuity from what he’s been doing before and he’s been able to carry that on with logical steps,” said Aldag.
No crazy psychotic girlfriends messing with your training schedule. That’s how you ride the Vuelta a Espana when you’re barely in your twenties. That and listening to plenty of 80’s ska — Madness, anyone?