We caught up with BMC Racing’s Tejay Van Garderen moments before the start of stage two in the Tour of California.
TS: Tejay, CHris Horner said back in December that he only feared Leipheimer in this race. Who do you fear?
TEJAY: There’s a big list of guys. Horner obviously, Danielson, Talansky, even Leipheimer. I know he’s had some troubles but he could use these first four stages to ride himself into form before the time trial. You can never count the guy out.
TS: Vincenzo Nibali is a wild card. What’s your guess on whether he is here to win?
TEJAY: It depends on what his motivation is. If he’s just using it as preparation for the Tour de France or coming here for a top result. He’s a danger guy because he’s so good. If he decides to go for it, he could win this race. But if he’s just here to train, maybe not. We’ll find out in the time trial. If he’s top ten there then you know he wants the overall. If he soft-pedals the time trial, then maybe he’ll try for the stage win on Baldy and he’s not in for the overall.
TS: How does the Bakersfield course suit your particular time trial skills?
TEJAY: Normally I like something a bit more technical but I think it’s a real time trailers TT. It’s kinda flat — so me compared to Chris Horner, I think I have a bigger advantage. To win I’d need to gain a good 40 seconds in the time trial and then just try to stay on Horner’s wheel on Baldy and limit my losses.
TS: You always look so calm. You look like you’re about to do a lunch ride around San Francisco and grab a panini.
TEJAY: There’s a time to get stressed and a time for calm. When we’re fighting at the base of Bonny Doone and that left hand corner I’ll probably start rubbing elbows a bit. B if you start raising your blood pressure at the start you’re out of energy by the time you get there.