Van Garderen took the overall lead after stage 5; a stage that was won by Jens Voigt (Radioshack-Leopard) who put in a late attack from the breakaway he helped create. The 24-year-old van Garderen went on to win the stage 6 ITT and held on to his overall lead on the final two stages to win his first ever stage race.
The win bodes well for BMC’s fortunes at the upcoming Tour de France with Cadel Evans also proving he’s in good form. But will BMC ride for Evans or for van Garderen? And is van Garderen good enough to win the Tour de France? He was fifth overall last year (and 1st in the best young rider classification) and he seems to have improved since then (he was 5th in the Tour of California last year).
Van Garderen himself told reporters after the final stage:
“There’s a big difference between being up there and winning,” he said. “I think I’ve finally showed I have the full package, having the patience and maturity.”
So what do you think? Could van Garderen win the Tour de France if BMC were to ride for him? While you’re pondering that, check out this gallery of terrific shots from photographer Wil Matthews from the Tour of California.