Van Garderen is set to compete in the elite men’s individual and trade team time trial and is confident of rising to both tasks, before moving onto a promise of bigger and better things.
“I’m doing both time trials, not the road race, and I definitely have aspirations there. This season has had its up and downs, but the one thing is I feel like I’ve been time trialing pretty well, so I want to give it a good shot at Worlds,” he said.
The 30-year-old hasn’t always matched rivals in the mountains this year but has made his mark. Van Garderen won the individual time trial stages at the Tour of California and the Tour of Utah to mark stints in the leader’s jersey at both races, respectively. He also contributed to team time trial victories at the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de France.
The showings were welcome glimpses of confidence and form in a season that was compounded by injury as well as stress about the future. The American had an interrupted spring and was forced to abandon Paris-Nice after he crashed twice in the opening stage and suffered from whiplash.
“It’s been a long season. Early in the spring I had some injuries and I wouldn’t say this has been my best season by any stretch, but hopefully I can finish it off on a good note at the World Championships,” he said.
Before it announced a merger with CCC in July, BMC Racing faced very public financial collapse and the uncertainty of its tenability saw some staff and riders jump ship, including van Garderen, who will race for EF Education First Drapac p/b Cannondale from 2019.
“I definitely wanted a fresh start. It was up in the air as to what was going to happen with this team [BMC] for a long time and I was just eager to secure my future,” he said.
“The EF team showed a lot of belief and support in my abilities and what they thought I could do going forward so that was appealing to me.
“I know a lot of people on that team, I’m familiar with what that team is about, and I think it will be an exciting new change.
“I’ll have some big goals and big opportunities next year.”
Watch Tejay van Garderen in action at the UCI Road World Championships in the elite men's ITT Wednesday 26 September streaming via our website and SBS On Demand from 10pm AEST.
Van Garderen hasn’t done a recon of the 52.5km course for the elite men’s individual time trial World Championships on September 26 but has seen a profile that saw compatriot Taylor Phinney take his name out of the selection race.
“I’m not going to go to the Worlds, it’s too hard. All the 80 plus kilo riders get phased out,” Phinney said.
The course includes a feature 5km ascent, which has an average gradient of 7.1 per cent and max of 14 per cent. Van Garderen’s current trade teammate, Australian Rohan Dennis is a favourite, especially after his showing at the Vuelta a Espana, in what should otherwise be a more open field.
Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas (Great Britain) won’t compete, while Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) may feel the physical sting of finishing runner-up to Froome and Thomas at Giro d’Italia and Tour de France respectively.
“It’s got a long climb in it, pretty straight forward so I like it,” van Garderen said.
“You’re obviously going to have the usual suspects. Rohan Dennis is going to be formidable, Dumoulin. I think a lot of the pure time trialers, like Tony Martin, might struggle with the climb that’s included in there. A time trialer with my characteristics could have a good opportunity at a medal.”
Watch the worlds with us from Monday 24 September to Sunday 30 September live streaming here or via SBS On Demand. You can also catch the women's (Sat 29 Sep) and men's (Sun 30 Sep) elite road races on SBS Viceland. More details here.