It’s been a year since Garmin-Sharp rattled Tejay van Garderen.
In the 2012 US Pro Cycling Challenge, the Garmin squad attacked from the opening gun and by the time van Garderen reached the final time trial in Denver, the mental stress had taken its toll and Christian Vande Velde stole the race.
A year later and it’s the BMC captain who did the hammering. In the 10 mile uphill time trial in Vail , it was van Garderen who ripped up the best time of Garmin’s Andrew Talansky by 4 seconds and all but wrapped up the overall title.
His teammate Mathias Frank holds second place on GC at 1:30 back while rival Tom Danielson took third on the stage 1:02 but now finds himself a full 1:42 behind with only tomorrow’s stage from Loveland to Fort Collins before the ceremonial sprint finish in Denver.
Danielson gave van Garderen a handshake and a smile at the finish — it was a classy gesture but also signaled that the war was over and he’d admitted defeat. Two guys from Colorado had traded blows for five stages and this time BMC was in charge. While Danielson joked in the press conference with van Garderen that he might throw a bike pump through his rivals’ spokes like in the movie Breaking Away, that act of bike terrorism seems unlikely.
The time trial win and van Garderen’s confident, aggressive descent off the Category 1 Bachelor Gulch climb was further evidence he will someday soon be on a grand tour podium.
Throw out a terrible jours sans on the first day in the Pyrenees at the Tour de France and he’s had a remarkable season. In May he won his first stage race, the Tour of California and now, barring a crash or inexplicable collapse, he’ll win the US Pro Cycling Challenge. Even in France, he rebounded well in the final week with only a mechanical and some bad luck preventing him from winning on the mythic Alpe d’Huez.
“There have been times when I put un-needed pressure on myself. Sometimes I]’ve been my worst enemy in that regard,” said van Garderen in the post stage press conference. “I’ve definitely done a lot to work on myself.”
That work showed today in Vail. Tom Danielson and Garmin-Sharp have tried to rattle him but this wasn’t last years; version of Tejay van Garderen. And if Cadel Evans was watching the race in Colorado, he probably knows who will be the BMC captain for the 2014 Tour de France.