American Tejay van Garderen Wins First Major Stage Race On Home Soil

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Bozeman, Montana native and Boulder, Colorado resident, Tejay van Garderen has a lot of pride. Pride in his team (BMC Racing), pride in himself (a 24-year-old American cycling phenom) and pride in his sport of road cycling as a whole. So it couldn’t be more fitting that the highly anticipated first major stage race win would come from the young American on his home soil. Van Garderen secured his maiden victory at the 2013 Amgen Tour of California this past week, touring the The Golden State from south to north in a winning time of 29 hours 43 minutes. The 8-stage race took riders from the blistering conditions in Escondido and Palm Springs all the way up to the final stage from San Francisco to Santa Rosa, California.

Highly regarded as the next big thing in American cycling, Van Garderen lived up to his reputation from the get-go of the race. Delivering promising performances in the upwards of 105 degree Fahrenheit conditions of the Southern California desert, Van Garderen was in contention for the yellow jersey from the onset of the Tour. Following a stunning victory in the time trial in San Jose, the newly crowned winner held his lead through a steep climb up Mt. Diablo in Northern California and then seemingly cruised the 80.7-mile final stage from San Francisco to Santa Rosa.

“Everything just finally came together,” Van Garderen said. “I’ve known for years I’m capable of a ride like this. It all finally fell into place. It shows I can deliver under pressure. It’s a big relief to get the first big stage race. I was starting to get worried I didn’t have what it takes to win a stage race, so now I’ll go in to others with a little less stress. I can loosen my grip and let things come naturally.”

The next “other” stage race we’ll see Van Garderen in contention for could potentially be the 2013 Tour de France. In a sport that’s been looking for an American hero to life the spirits of it’s cycling fans, Van Garderen is highly regarded as exactly that. Last year he helped lead defending champion Cadel Evans through the 21 stages of the Tour while securing himself the white jersey in the mean time, as the Tour’s best young rider. Now that the American has his first big victory under his belt, it will be interesting to see how this year and the many to follow play out in the French countryside.

Van Garderen’s victory didn’t come as a surprise to some of cycling’s best riders and community members. They’ve been expecting this win to come at some point and their comments suggest that.

“He’s a big talent,” said Thor Hushovd, the great Norwegian sprinter. “He won this tour now. He could make it his own.”

“He’s learned to manage a high-profile team,” BMC Racing Director Jim Ochowicz said. “This is a big accomplishment for him, not just in the short term. It’s now about the next big thing.”

It’s been a pretty exciting 2013 already for the young American. He welcomed his first child, a baby girl, into the world in April and now he has his first coveted stage race win. Van Garderen will look to continue this recent string of positivity into this summer’s most coveted race in the world. Look for the BMC Racing team rider as a stand out come June/July.

In other Amgen Tour of California news, Van Garderen also helped lead his team, BMC Racing to the team title during the final day of the race. Look for van Garderen and BMC Racing to take this major victory into this year’s Tour de France, running June 29th to July 21st.

2013 Amgen Tour of California Results

Pos. No. UCI Code Rider Team Time
1. 31 USA19880812 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay BMC 29:43:00
2. 61 AUS19791220 ROGERS, Michael TST 29:44:47
3. 131 COL19851206 ACEVEDO, Janier JSH 29:46:26
4. 33 SUI19861209 FRANK, Mathias BMC 29:46:32
5. 47 AUS19880111 MEYER, Cameron OGE 29:46:33
6. 2 USA19850509 BUSCHE, Matthew RLT 29:46:50
7. 151 ESP19760309 MANCEBO, Francisco 5HR 29:47:52
8. 142 USA19920220 CRADDOCK, Lawson BCT 29:48:24
9. 82 IRL19830907 DEIGNAN, Philip UHC 29:48:33
10. 121 USA19880826 HAGA, Chad OPM 29:48:52