BMC rider Tejay van Garderen says he wasn't trying to court controversy by working with Lance Armstrong

Tejay van Garderen admits he expected the backlash that came his way after the news emerged that he has been motorpaced by Lance Armstrong.

The American racer, who finished fifth in the 2014 Tour de France, insists he wasn’t trying to court controversy by working with the Texan, simply making use of a local resource.

But the 26-year-old, who is replacing Cadel Evans as the BMC team leader in 2015, feels Armstrong is being overly persecuted for his role in the US Postal doping scandal.

“It [the criticism] is kind of what I expected to hear,” he said at the BMC training camp in Spain.

“At the end of the day I just feel that it isn’t really fair that we can go to George Hincapie’s Gran Fondo, we accept that Christian Vandevelde can be our commentator, we have interviews with Frankie Andreu, but Lance is the evil guy.

“He lives a couple of blocks away from me, so it wasn’t like I was trying to make some big statement by having him motorpace me.

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“It was really just that my normal motorpacer was out of town, he was a couple of blocks down the road, he has a Vespa and free time.

“People can think what they want, but the story is old enough now and with all the other riders in his position, I think he’s been punished enough.”

Having secured his second top-five finish in the past three Tours de France, van Garderen is disappointed the ASO have not included a long time trial in the 2015 Tour.

BMC will enter the stage-nine team time trial as one of the favourites, given their win at the Road World Championship Team Time Trial in September.

But despite the lack individual miles against the clock, van Garderen is confident of gaining time on the favourites on the challenging first-week stages.

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He said: “Christian Prudhomme was quoted as saying that the winner of the Tour should be the most complete rider, which is why he put in the stages in the Ardennes and the stage with the cobbles and the big mountains.

“I agree with that but he is missing one key element to make a truly complete rider.

“That being said, I think there are plenty of chances, that we can take time on some of the pure climbers like on some of the crosswind days and the cobblestones.”