Van Garderen. A white jersey and a bigger promise.

//Van Garderen. A white jersey and a bigger promise.

Van Garderen. A white jersey and a bigger promise.

Van Garderen. White, not Gold.

The Tour of California has ended and HTC-Highroad’s young talent Tejay Van Garderen is not in the golden jersey. He won the white jersey for best young rider and that wasn’t the wardrobe plan.

A month back, the 22 year old Van Garderen casually dropped that his aim was to win the Tour of California. Bold talk that earned a few snickers. Sure the kid was a massive talent. A 3rd overall in the Criterium du Dauphine just to quote a race.

That kind of prediction was part of the bigger story, the changing of the guard, out with the old and in with the new lycra.

There was a lot of talk of shipping Hincapie, Leipheimer and Horner off to the old folks home. Nobody likes to be buried before they’re ready and Horner issued a smack down on stage four’s Sierra road. Horner went up and Van Garderen went down, 12th place and 2 minutes behind.

The kid admitted he made a mistake, went too hard in the heat of battle and blew up. Podium chances over and a half dozen eggs on face. But here’s the thing about Van Garderen: he learns as quickly as he rides up mountains and he’s not afraid to take risks or aim high.

Two days later, he came back with a vengeance at the time trial in Solvang, placing third and beating old man Horner. He was back in the race and people made a mental note about resilience, toughness and dealing with pressure. A bad-ass nice young man, something like that.

In the queen stage, a genuine summit finish on Mount Baldy and the toughest mountain ever torture- tested in the Tour of California, Tejay didn’t blow, leaned from his Sierra Road faux-pedal and rode it hard to the painful end.

He took seventh place, a minute thirty behind Horner and that was solid proof that Van Garderen will be back in contention next year. And when he says he plans to win, he’s not joking.

By |2019-02-03T16:19:55-08:00May 22nd, 2011|Uncategorized|2 Comments

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  1. Henkio May 23, 2011 at 11:36 am - Reply

    This guy.

    Amazing talent. With a little more experience to back it up he's going to be BIG.

    • TwistedSpoke May 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm - Reply

      Henkio, I think so. He's got a rare combination of confidence and calm that would seem to be perfect for a stage racer. Matt

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