Tejay Van Garderen is the next American hope is no exaggeration. Tejay is a pro cyclist who is tearing up the international cycling scene lately and frankly, is one of my favorite riders right now. If you don’t know who he is, you should because in my opinion, he is the next great hope for American cycling. Ladies, I gotta admit the kid is good looking and definitely oogle-worthy.
But first, I gotta ask some advice. Inspired by Bradley Wiggins performance at the individual time trial in stage 1 of Paris-Nice on Sunday where he averaged 500+ watts over about 6 miles, I have decided to ratchet up my training and try to sustain 500 watts for 1 minute. Currently I can push 500+ watts for about 30 seconds and then I think mentally I just give up. When I think I hit failure and back off the throttle, I think I have decent power still in the legs. My best :60 seconds in 2012 has been 356 watts, so I know I have a ways to go, but I think I can get it done. My best :45 seconds this year I was able to sustain 405 watts. I am doing intervals like crazy right now. I think that is all I can do along with just HTFU. The closest I have gotten was in June 2011 where I did average 478 watts over :60 seconds, so I know I am close. Anyone have any advice?
Tejay Van Garderen Gets it Done
The kid — I call him that because he was born in 1988 and I graduated high school in 1989 — is a 24 year old cycling phenom. I gotta say I really love the stones on him because he has taken his natural talent and started to refine it. It has taken him to a level that most riders in the peleton will never see and he is only 24 years old. For real, Tejay is too legit to quit (thanks Pandora Radio for that one).
Now I don’t want to take anything away from amazing riders like Taylor Phinney — who happens to be the son of one of the pioneers of modern American cycling Davis Phinney and only 21 years old — but I just like the way Tejay rides. He is a great all-round rider having been successful in individual and team time trials, mountain stages, and flat stages as well. He attacks stages like they stole something from him. I would swear his dad was Eddy Merckx or even Greg LeMond.
Tejay has produced some amazing results in his first couple of years in the European peleton. Until the 2010 season he rode for the Rabobank Continental Under 23 team. If you look at his results, he had two firsts and two seconds in stage tours. In 2010 he signed with HTC-Columbia (yes, that one) and immediately started getting results. The highlight of the year was his 3rd overall in the Criterium du Dauphine. In 2011 he rode for the same team and got 5th in the Tour of California, including winning the white jersey for the best young rider. At the 2011 Tour de France he briefly won the King of the Mountains jersey when on stage 8 he flew up the climbs. He also won the Most Aggressive Rider award for that stage. Tejay also got 3rd overall in the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado.
During the off season, he signed with Team BMC, which is owned in part by Jim Ochowicz. Jim is the pioneer who manned up and started the 7-Eleven Cycling Team back in the 1980’s. Team BMC is the same team, just different sponsors. This is the same team that Cadel Evans, Thor Hushovd, George Hincapie, and about four other fantastic riders are on. Having that level of talent and experience around him will only serve to help Tejay improve his riding and handling skills.
But then there is this little race of Paris-Nice that is going on right now. I have been watching each stage thanks to NBC Sports (channel 151 on Dish) and Tejay has been killing it. After Stage 5, he is in 6th overall and is currently wearing the White Jersey as the Best Young Rider. He has shown the ability during the race to pound out the miles and stay up with the big boys of the race. Bradley Wiggins is currently in the yellow jersey and I do not see much of a chance for Tejay to win Paris-Nice — he is :39 second behind Wiggins and barring a crash or illness, I don’t see Tejay topping the podium.
Now getting on the podium, Tejay would have to knock off either Levi Leipheimer (another American rider that I love) or Lieuwe Westra. I say Levi and Tejay jump out on a huge breakaway tomorrow and put time on everyone, catapulting themselves into at least 2nd and 3rd if not 1st and 2nd places. I love Wiggins and would like to see him have a great season, but to see Levi or Tejay up at the top of the podium would be amazing. Are you listening Levi? I know he reads this blog daily. Work with our boy Tejay and get the two of you on the podium!
What is ahead for Tejay? We know he is riding in the TdF, but outside of that, I can’t track down his race schedule anywhere. I am sure he will be doing some of the Spring Classics to fine tune his fitness levels. I would not be surprised if he skipped the Giro d’Italia to keep his legs fresh for the TdF. But we will see what happens and how he is able to improve over the season. For additional reading about Tejay and to get some insight into his work ethic, read this interview with Tejay in VeloNews.
Here is your motivational image for the day…