Tejay van Garderen will focus on the Giro d’Italia in 2017, after a disappointing Tour de France this year.
The BMC rider, who has finished 5th at the Tour in 2012 and 2014, has ceded Tour leadership within the team to Richie Porte. The Australian rider finished 5th 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.
Van Garderen finished 29th overall at the Tour and his Vuelta appearance was also subpar. He abandoned on stage 17 sitting 95th overall.
The American 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.”