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Tejay van Garderen donned the white jersey as best young rider after the prologue. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)
Tejay van Garderen donned the white jersey as best young rider after the prologue. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)

Tour de France, Prologue: BMC Racing Team Off To Strong Start

30. June 2012

Tejay van Garderen finished fourth and earned best young rider honors and Philippe Gilbert was ninth as the BMC Racing Team put five riders in the top 25 in the prologue Saturday and began defense of Cadel Evans's Tour de France title.

Evans Happy To Get Things Started
Evans was the last of the 198 starters to complete the 6.4-kilometer race against the clock and finished 13th, 17 seconds off the winning time of Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan). The former world road champion called it a "not good, but not bad" performance. "You never want to lose time to any GC (general classification) rider and I lost time to one, but I was sort of expecting that," Evans said, referring to prologue runner-up Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling). "But it's six kilometers out of 3,500 or so, so in that regard it's a small comparison. I'm happy to get things started and I'm feeling good." Van Garderen's time was 10 seconds off the winning time, while Gilbert, the Belgian national time trial champion, was three seconds slower.

Van Garderen Best On The Team
Van Garderen had one of the strongest rides in the second half of the course that wound through the streets of Liège. Only 16th at the intermediate check, he powered his BMC timemachine TM01 across the line for what was then the second-fastest time. The silver medalist at the U.S. national time trial championships said it was nice to earn best young rider honors, but it's not part of his overall plan for the three-week race. "It's an incredible feeling," he said. "I haven't gotten the adrenaline going like that coming down the start ramp since I was a junior. But we have one goal at this race and that's to get Cadel to the top step in Paris. This is a nice little treat for me and the team, but it's not really something we're aiming for."

Gilbert Happy At Home; Hincapie Makes History
After Gilbert, the BMC Racing Team placed Steve Cummings 17th (at 18 seconds) and George Hincapie 22nd (at 20 seconds). Riding in his home country, Gilbert said the support from the crowd was amazing. "Thanks to all the fans here in Liège. It was amazing," he said. "It was like the classics last year in Flèche Wallonne or Liège-Bastogne-Liège." Hincapie said the magnitude of starting a record 17th Tour de France didn't affect him until just before his start. "I got on the podium to start and it really hit me there," Hincapie said. "I should have been thinking about the effort. But I was excited. I'm really going to try and enjoy this and work my butt off the whole three weeks for Cadel."

Complete audio comments from Evans, van Garderen, Gilbert and Hincapie are available on the BMC Racing Team Tour de France AudioLine.