Tejay van Garderen and Rohan Dennis will make their Giro d’Italia debut when they line up next week as BMC Racing Team’s leaders at the 100th edition of the race.
Van Garderen, who is the team’s primary leader, will join forces with Dennis, who is there to test his Grand Tour General Classification abilities, Sports Director Max Sciandri said.
“Tejay van Garderen is our outright leader for the General Classification. He has a lot of Grand Tour experience and we’re really excited to see what he can do at the Giro d’Italia; a race he has never done before. It is a new challenge for Tejay, the course is well-suited to his racing style and he will have the support of the whole team. Whereas Rohan Dennis is in a unique position where he has free rein to race his own race. Rohan has never focused on the General Classification in a Grand Tour, but he has proven this year that he has the legs to be up there with the best, and I think we will see a strong performance from Rohan that will be the start of his transition to an outright Grand Tour contender,” Sciandri explained.
“Behind van Garderen and Dennis, we have a mix of youth and experience in our line up. Manuel Quinziato and Francisco Ventoso are some of the most experienced riders in the peloton and they will fittingly be our road captains. Silvan Dillier, Ben Hermans, Dylan Teuns, Joey Rosskopf and Manuel Senni complete the line up and will provide crucial support on both the flat and mountain stages. I’m confident we will see strong performances from these riders, all of whom are continually progressing season after season.”
Van Garderen is embracing the new challenge that the Giro d’Italia presents.
“The Giro d’Italia is a race I have never done before and it was a race I had been asking to do for a while. This year, the team gave me the green light to give it a try and it was a good opportunity for me to lead the team in a different Grand Tour. The parcours suits me well. There is a good number of time trialling kilometers and a good number of mountain stages. It is a very balanced Grand Tour. It’s hard, certainly, but I like the route,” van Garderen said.
“My lead up to the Giro d’Italia has been good. It has been a slow progression but I think I am hitting good form at the right time. Now it’s about fine tuning the big load of work that I have done since December, with my final race at the Tour de Romandie.”
Dennis has his sights set on a gradual Grand Tour development that starts next week in Italy.
“I have a lot to learn and I have to start somewhere where there are a lot more opportunities to get a result, so I chose to race the Giro D’Italia. If you can learn how to race the Giro d’Italia as a General Classification rider, you can race any Grand Tour. On paper, if you look at the route, I think 90% of the time the Giro d’Italia is the hardest Grand Tour every year. It’s probably the least-suited to me when it comes to the terrain so to be able to learn how to race for the General Classification in a race that isn’t really suited to me, is a huge bonus for me in the future,” Dennis explained.
“My form at the Tour of the Alps leading into the Giro d’Italia was spot on. I think I have given myself as good a chance as possible for my first General Classification attempt at a Grand Tour. To arrive in Milan with all of my skin, top five or top ten on General Classification, and with a stage win would be the absolute best case scenario for my first attempt.”
Rohan DENNIS (AUS): First time racing
Silvan DILLIER (SUI): Two participations (2015, 2016)
Ben HERMANS (BEL): Two participations (2012, 2014)
Manuel QUINZIATO (ITA): Four participations (2003, 2009, 2014, 2016)
Joey ROSSKOPF (USA): One participation (2016)
Manuel SENNI (ITA): One participation (2016)
Dylan TEUNS (BEL): First time racing
Tejay VAN GARDEREN (USA): First time racing
Francisco VENTOSO (ESP): Five participations (2005, 2011-2014)