Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com
As BMC’s riders warmed down under the canopy next to their team bus and waited for confirmation of whether their team time trial effort would result in them being the quickest team over the 35km course in and around Cholet, Tejay van Garderen described their rider as “near flawless”.
“Perfection is an impossible goal, but I think we got as close to it as we could. We executed everything really well,” said the American. “Being part of that line is not a lot of fun. There’s a lot of pain and suffering, and a lot of preparation goes into this. We work on it in the winter during the training camps and we flew out here a day early to recon the course three times. We also rode it once this morning. We have the riders, the right preparation, all the details that go into been competitive in this discipline.”
The man behind most of that planning and preparation is BMC TT guru Marco Pinotti, who was following the riders in BMC’s team car alongside DS Fabio Baldato. A six-time Italian time trial champion renowned for his expertise in every aspect of racing against the clock, whether individually or in team formation, Pinotti agreed with van Garderen’s assessment, confirming BMC’s riders hadn’t made many mistakes.
“There were a couple of corners in the final third of the race that we could have done a little bit faster and we maybe lost a second or two there. It may be that they didn’t want to take any big risks close to the finish and they grouped up a little bit, but it didn’t cost us in the end. The goal for me was to win the TTT. The fact that Greg Van Avermaet has taken the yellow jersey as well is a bonus,” Pinotti explained.
Asked who had been the mainstays of BMC’s effort, Pinotti said all of the riders had fulfilled their allocated role. “Stefan Küng was the strongest rider on the team, but Patrick Bevin was also very good. The rider who really surprised me was Tejay van Garderen. He’s been riding very consistently in individual time trials this season and he showed that form again today.
“But the whole team rode really well. Micky Schär did his part – it was always the plan for him to do all he could and then drop back. The same goes for Simon Gerrans. Everybody was there almost until the end. Greg was obviously very strong too. He had the extra motivation of going for the yellow jersey.”
He underlined, though, that the principal objective of BMC’s effort had been to get team leader Richie Porte around the course as quickly as possible, and that any of the other riders would have been left behind if they had suffered a puncture or some other form of mechanical problem.
“Richie was the only rider we would have waited for. If Greg had had a flat tyre we wouldn’t have waited. If Greg had punctured and we’d waited, we wouldn’t have got the yellow jersey but we wouldn’t have won either. If you have a flat you lose at least 20 seconds, which is too much to give up over a 35k course this fast.”
Full Gas is the essential guide to make sense of all things peloton.
For details on where to buy Full Gas click here