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by Mark Zalewski
November 25, 2016
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Van Garderen will focus on Giro d’Italia in 2017; Interview: Louis Meintjes, future Tour de France star?; A team on the brink: Avanti-IsoWhey Sports’ fight for survival; Emakumeen Bira denied Women’s WorldTour status; Brajkovic signs with Bahrain-Merida; Pellaud joins Team Illuminate; Is Coca-Cola good for cyclists?; Simon Zahner taking applications for development riders; Team Dimension Data unveils new kit; Gent-Wevelgem to include unpaved roads in 2017.
Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) will focus on the Giro d’Italia in 2017, with a return to the Tour de France uncertain. The American rider, who has twice finished fifth at the Tour, has ceded Tour leadership within the team to Richie Porte. The Australian rider finished fifth at the Tour in 2016, and may well have finished second overall if not for a puncture on Stage 2 that cost him almost two minutes.
After hemorrhaging time on the summit finish at Finault-Emosson on Stage 17, Van Garderen tumbled down the general classification, from eighth overall to 17th; he finished 29th overall at the Tour. His Vuelta appearance was also subpar, and he abandoned on Stage 17 sitting 95th overall.
Van Garderen attributed those performances to being over prepared for the Tour de France, and then under prepared at the Vuelta.
Rather than ride as a superdomestique at the Tour, van Garderen told BMC Racing team management that he would like to continue as a Grand Tour leader. So, in May, he’ll race the Giro for the first time, rather than return to the Amgen Tour of California, which he won in 2013.
“At first I had no idea what I wanted to do, do I go back to the Tour in a support role for Richie, and try to win California again? The team was supportive, and said, ‘if you want to go try to win California, and come to the Tour for Richie, we’ll support that.’ I wanted to wait for the route announcements. I saw the Giro course, and I liked it.”
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