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Tour de France 2015: Top Banana – stage seven

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Photographs: BrakeThrough Media

Seven days in at the 2015 Tour, and we’ve hardly had chance to draw breath. A hugely eventful first week has made for compelling viewing, but it’s perhaps not been quite so welcome amidst the GC-chasing contingent of the peloton.
Keeping it simple and staying in touching distance with the top of the GC is all that a Tour contender could wish for from their first week, so you would imagine that they’ll be all smiles aboard the BMC team bus this evening. Their man Tejay sits in third place, 13 seconds behind Chris Froome. More importantly, we’ve hardly heard his name mentioned in commentary all week.
He’s been quietly composed on the cobbles, kept out of the way of numerous crashes, avoided the added attention of sporting the yellow jersey, and not had to waste valuable energy by boarding another team’s vehicle to remonstrate with a rival.
BMC’s directeur sportif, Yvon Ledanois, spoke to 1 last year about Van Garderen, saying: “I want to win a big race with him. It’s my objective, my goal, my obsession.”  He will of course be tested in the mountains, but the goal looks to be in good shape so far.
His teammates should be commended for keeping their leader out of trouble. Manuel Quinziato and Michael Schär are well versed in the role, having supported Cadel Evans on his way to the maillot jaune in 2011, and propelled Van Garderen himself to the young rider’s jersey the following year.
They stuck around during the awkward leadership struggle between Evans and his understudy in 2013, and with the American now the undisputed top dog in the team, their efforts and experience will prove invaluable over the next two weeks.
TVG would be well advised to share today’s banana amongst his comrades.

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