Young Tejay Van Garderen continutes to scare and amaze with his fearless approach to attacking big races.
It’s his first Tour, he’s here to learn, his HTC-Highroad team downplayed expectations, just helping Cav, Grand Boucle 101 kinda thing.
Even Van Garderen played along with his sleepy, bored, laid-back attitude and just-glad-to-be-here vibe.
Stage 8 to Super Besse, first real taste of some climbing, a few cols, a cote or two, a race book profile that indicated suffering. Tejay is not mid-pack, wide-eyed, gosh-golly, look at me, I’m in Le Tour!
No, he jumps in the nine-rider breakaway and heads for the mountains. This is a kid who believes in accelerated learning and he simply doesn’t care if he’s riding up with Alberto Contador, the Brothers Schleck or Cadel Evans.
A bold move and for most kids that might be a thrill, goosebumps, hey ma, watch the TV ’cause I’m up front, this is gonna be great Facebook stuff!
But no, that’s not enough for Tejay Van Garderen, not nearly enough. So he attacks the break, dancing away on the pedals, putting the hurt on guys like Rui Costa who have won a grand tour.
Yeah, hey maybe he should drop back, see if Tony Martin needs a water bottle or Velits wants some gels. Nope, hit the gas again, near the summit. Only Costa has the power to grab his wheel.
Then reality sets in, Tejay dreaming a col too much and the Movistar rider counters and rides away for the win.
Today in the Tour de France we saw a great stage and a glimpse of the future. Tejay Van Garderen is riding fast, faster than anyone expected perhaps. He might be an American Andy Schleck in a few. Years.