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by Shane Stokes
January 19, 2016
Photography by Cor Vos
After confirming in recent weeks that the BMC Racing Team will continue past the end of the 2016 season, the squad has announced that Tejay van Garderen has inked a contract extension.
There had been some speculation that van Garderen might head elsewhere, with rumours dating back to last year’s Tour de France claiming that he was dissatisfied with the signing of Richie Porte and wanted to change teams.
This is not the case, however, and he will continue to don the red and black kit beyond 2016.
“This will be my fifth year with the team, so when you get to know everyone so well over a period of time, you become more like family,” the 27-year-old American said, commenting on the deal.
“I really like the way the team operates. I like all of the guys, and I definitely think this is the perfect environment for me to flourish with my career. My main goal is the Tour de France, it is the pinnacle of the season and I’d like to shoot for the podium or victory over the next few years.”
Van Garderen finished fifth overall in both the 2012 and 2014 Tours. He was sitting third overall in last year’s Tour but had to retire due to illness.
Prior to that race he took second overall in the Critérium du Dauphiné, 10 seconds behind Chris Froome.
The length of his contract extension has not been confirmed, although this is not unusual for the BMC Racing Team.
“Both Tejay and BMC Racing Team continue to strive towards reaching some of our goals which have not yet been accomplished together,” said Team President Jim Ochowicz. “It also solidifies his leadership in the team, in that Tejay is one of our captains.
“It’s important for the team as a whole to have Tejay continue on with us as a leader of the organization and completes what we started with him four years ago.”
BMC is expected to look to both van Garderen and Porte as leaders in the Tour de France, giving it the same sort of two-pronged attack it had in the past with Cadel Evans. Apart from tactical advantages, this will also spread the pressure between the two riders.
Van Garderen said it was important to him to continue with the squad.
“I think BMC Racing Team offer a higher level of support than what you get at other teams,” he said. “The training camps, the altitude camps, wind tunnel testing…there is no stone left unturned.”