EF Education First-Drapac have confirmed the signing of Tejay van Garderen from BMC Racing for 2019.
The American has spent the last seven seasons with BMC, having joined with the prospect of being a future Grand Tour winner in the making.
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Van Garderen finished fifth twice at the Tour de France in his time with the team in 2012 and 2014, but failed to push on in general classification contention after that.
He took a stage win at the Giro d’Italia in 2017 after falling out the overall fight, but has enjoyed GC success with an overall win at the Tour of California in 2013.
The 29-year-old will now move on to what he called “America’s team” with the American registered BMC squad combining with Polish out CCC Sprandi for next season.
Van Garderen said it was a “necessary” change and that he needed “a fresh environment, fresh faces, some new ideas” to help rejuvenate his career.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of ‘America’s’ team,’’ van Garderen said.
“I’m certainly not a young rider anymore, but I’m still way too young to be put out to pasture. I’ve had some good results, some ups and downs, and I’m still interested in exploring the capacity of what I have to give, however that translates.
“Whether it’s helping a teammate or grabbing results for myself. Whether it’s Grand Tours or one-week stage races. I still think there’s a lot more I can offer.
“I think it was a necessary thing to do,” van Garderen added.
“I’m definitely going to look back on my years on BMC positively. I’ve accomplished a lot with that team. But at a certain point sometimes you just need a fresh environment, fresh faces, some new ideas.”
Team CEO Jonathan Vaughters, who has known van Garderen since he was a junior, believes the team can help him add to his 15 professional career wins, which include stages at the Tour de Suisse and Volta a Catalunya, in a similar way to how they’ve handled riders like Ryder Hesjedal, Christian Vande Velde and Rigoberto Uran who all improved in the latter part of their careers.
“Tejay exhibited incredible potential in his younger years. He’s been riding under very high pressure for years as he was pegged as America’s next great cyclist. That’s been tough billing to live up to, and it would have been for anyone,” Vaughters said.
“We’ve shown a long and successful history of taking underrated riders later in their careers and pulling out the best of them in the second half of their careers.
“Hopefully we’re able to do that with Tejay, too, using a fun, grounded approach toward racing.”