Tejay van Garderen is keen on his chances of going one better at the Tour of California this year, even though the route doesn’t feature his speciality time trial like previous editions.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
12 May 2019 - 12:43 PM  UPDATED 12 May 2019 - 12:44 PM

The 2018 runner-up won the individual time trial last season to take the leader’s jersey, which he held until Colombian climber Egan Bernal (Team INEOS) took line and ultimately race title honours on the queen stage to South Lake Tahoe.

Speaking at a pre-race press conference in Sacramento, van Garderen (EF Education First) said his overall chances wouldn’t be defined by the course shake-up.

“If I were to have created the course, I would have included a time trial because everyone would want to build a course that is suited to their strengths. But you can’t dwell on it, you have to play the hand you are dealt,” he said.

“The year I won California [2013] I didn’t win it in the time trial, I had the jersey already when I came into the time trial. All I did in the time trial was add to my advantage. So, you could so that I might have won the race anyway without the TT. That’s the way I’m approaching this week, a TT would be nice, but you don’t necessarily need it.”

Uran returns to racing at Tour of California
Rigoberto Uran retuns to racing for a strong EF Education First at the upcoming Tour of California. Watch the action live with your brekky from 8am AEST Monday 13 May on SBS VICELAND and streaming via SBS On Demand.

The 30-year-old headlines a strong EF Education First squad, which has multiple GC options to play with in the more mountainous edition that features summit finishes on stage two to South Lake Tahoe and stage six to Mt Baldy.
Rigoberto Uran will mark his return from injury here, with Lawson Craddock, Sergio Garcia, Alex Howes, Lachlan Morton and Taylor Phinney rounding out the squad.

“It will be more of an open approach because really it’s going to come down to Baldy and who has the best legs there,” said van Garderen. “It would help if we wanted to move some pieces earlier. It makes the race less predictable for our competitors, to have multiple guys so I think that’s beneficial to have the deep, strong team we have here.”

Van Garderen enters his ‘home’ race on the back of the Volta a Catalunya, where he was a DNF on the seventh and final stage. The all-rounder has been consistent this season, marking top 20 finishes at the UAE Tour and Paris-Nice in his first year with the new team he moved to from the now-defunct BMC Racing.

“I put in the work and feel healthy. The head is in the right place. I think all the boxes are ticked but you can never control everything when it comes to a race. I’m here to go for it,” he said.

Sophie Smith is at the Amgen Tour of California as a guest of AEG and ASO, reporting for SBS online.