Forced out of the Tour de France close to the podium last month, Tejay Van Garderen couldbe out for revenge in his first ever Vuelta. But for his BMC team director Yvon Ledanois, the American is above all going to learn in an event “that is raced differently from others”.
“I hope he has swallowed the pill of leaving the Tour so close to Paris with a podium within his reach. I know thathe has worked hard for this Vuelta, that he has recovered with his family and left his doubts behind. But there are other leaders with more experience of the race and bidding for greatresults. We’re not going to start as favourites,” the Frenchman said.
Van Garderen left the Tour de France through illness in the 17th stage as he was lying third with four days to go before Paris. At 27, the BMC team leader never rode anyother grand tour besides the French one.
“For Tejay, the Vueltais a chance to prove that his with drawal was an accident. It’salso an opportunity to discover another grand tour, one that is be ingraced differently. It’sgoing to be an apprenticeship.”
The French team director, who spent a lot of his career in Spain, considers the Tour of Spain as a more open race as ittakes place in the end of the season and becauseits course isideal for smallerSpanish teams to express themselves.
“I adore this race. It’s not a closed race and the course is magnificent with nine mountain top finishes. It’s a different Approach when you start by 45 degrees before finding yourself in Andorra for a stage with 5,000 metres of vertical drop. It leaves the door open to beautiful breakaways.”
While the composition of the BMC team is far from definite, Van Garderen should count on the support of France’s Amael Moinard but also former Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez, whowill ride his 8thedition of a race he always finished in the top 15, even reaching second place in 2009.
“We’regoing to see how Sam feels but athisage and with his experience, he will first of all have a role as a race captain. It wouldbe a mistake to put pressure on him by makinghim a leader. He knows himself well and we’l lsee whether he has the legs or not. But I’verarely seen such a professional rider. He is essential in a team for his experience and his knowledge of the race. He is my key rider.”
While BMC will not field a pure sprinter, they will bring along Luxembourg’s Jempy Drucker, the recent winner of the RideLondonClassic.
More informations on www.lavuelta.com
Bouhanni out to avenge Tour disappointment
Frustrated by his crash last month in the Tour de France, France’s Nacer Bouhanni is back on the Vueltaeager for revenge and in the best of shapes to do so. Twice a stage winner last year, the Cofidis ace sprinter hopes to at least repeat the feat once this year before setting his goals higher.
“Our goal is first to win a stage and the sooneritcomes the better we’llbe able to tackle a race which is always important for Cofidis,”said team manager Yvon Sanquer.
Forced out of the Tour after a bad crash on the road to Amiens, Bouhanni recovered extremely well to win the Circuit of Getxo and two stages in the Tour de l’Ain since.
“Nacer came back faster than we expected and he goes into this Vuleta with optimal form and motivation with the aim of repeatinghis performances of last year. A first winwould set us on track and afterwards we could look for other objectives like the points jersey for instance,”Sanquer said.
To set him up in the six stages he has marked down, the former French champion can count on a solid train made of Julien Simon, Cyril Lemoine, Dominique Rollin and Geoffrey Soupe as the last lead-out man, knowing that Simon could even Play his own cards in case of a bumpier finale.
Team Cofidis have another trump up their sleeve in Daniel Navarro, who also won a stage last year before finishing 10th overall.
“Dani had a verydifficultstart to the season witht wobig crashes including one at the Tour. He starts this Vuelta hoping to do well on a course that suits him and why not repeathis stage victory a yearago,”said Sanquer.
“For the GC, even if some of them are tired, there are a number of very serious contenders.”
By Navarro’s side when the road goes up willbeFrance’s Yoann Bagot as well as grand tour rookie Stephane Rossetto, at his best on Route du Sud and who discovers the realities of a three-week race.
“To summarise, our first goal will be for Nacer to win a stage which would spur our ambitions,”Sanquersaid.
Cofidis line-up: Nacer Bouhanni, Daniel Navarro, Yoann Bagot, Romain Hardy, Cyril Lemoine, Dominique Rollin, Stéphane Rossetto, Julien Simon et Geoffrey Soupe.
More informations on www.lavuelta.com