• Tejay Van Garderen and his BMC unit is confident of taking the yellow jersey out of Stage 9's team time trial (EPA)Source: EPA
After a treacherous week of racing on the Tour de France, Tejay van Garderen is still flying under the radar, but the American is definitely in the mix.
12 Jul 2015 - 1:22 PM  UPDATED 12 Jul 2015 - 8:51 PM

Having avoided the pitfalls that befell other riders in the nervous early stages, the BMC rider sits third overall, 13 seconds behind Britain's yellow jersey holder Chris Froome of Team Sky.

"It's a perfect start to the Tour," BMC sports director Yvon Ledanois said ahead of Stage 8, a 181.5-km ride to Mur de Bretagne, which was won by AG2R’s Alexis Vuillermoz.

Stage 8 report
Vuillermoz wins on the Mûr-de-Bretagne
Lightly regarded Alexis Vuillermoz of the AG2R team defied predictions and the favourites to win the 8th stage of the Tour de France.

"It was the start we were dreaming about but it's not over, far from over. But we had a good first week."

Van Garderen, who finished fifth at the Tour de France in 2012 and 2014, showed with a convincing second place overall at the Criterium du Dauphine that he had what it takes to reach the next level, and he gained confidence from that performance.

"The Dauphine helped him reach a new level. Last year it was new for him, being a leader," said Ledanois.

"He's (team) leader on the Tour, he's second at the Dauphine where it was close with (Chris) Froome, he realised that Froome is not unbeatable. Psychologically it was important."

At the Dauphine, Van Garderen lost to Froome after the Briton won the final two stages with late attacks in the final climb. The gaps, however, were minimal.

"It shows that if there's a day when Froome is not ‘super Froome’ and we're feeling good we can try something," Ledanois added.

Van Garderen is ahead of Spain's Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Italian defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astanat) and Colombia's Nairo Quintana (Movistar), yet he is rarely cited as a potential winner.

"It's fine with me and it makes me laugh," said Ledanois.

"It's good for us that the media are only talking about the ‘Big Four’ (Froome, Contador, Nibali and Quintana). It's good that we're being forgotten."

Van Garderen could even head into the first rest day with the yellow jersey as BMC Racing is favourite for the Stage 9 28km team time trial between Vannes and Plumelec, which has an uphill finish.

Battle for yellow
Favourites focus on tonight’s TTT
The fight for the yellow jersey stayed tight up the Mûr-de-Bretagne with the top contenders for the Tour de France general classification conserving what energy they could ahead of tonight’s team time trial.

"We're afraid of no one, we're the (team time trial) world champions, we've got the riders to win but other teams will be in the mix - (Quintana's) Movistar, I know it's a good course for them," Ledanois explained.

"I hope we will be in yellow tomorrow night. If we're not, it will be disappointing."

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