NBC Sports Tour De France 2012: USA's Van Garderen in Good Spot After 2nd Stage

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NBC Sports Tour De France 2012: USA's Van Garderen in Good Spot After 2nd Stage
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Tejay van Garderen came into the 2012 Tour de France as one of the top young Americans, and he's proved as much in the first two stages of the historic race.

The 23-year-old currently sits in fourth place among all competitors after winning the white jersey in the first stage on Saturday and backing it up on Monday. He says his goal is to aid Cadel Evans to another title, but he hasn't been so shabby himself.

Van Garderen said on Saturday, via the Washington Post, "We’ve come here with one goal, that’s to get Cadel on the top step of the podium in Paris. But anything can happen.”

Van Garderen, who owns a fourth-place finish on GC at the Amgen Tour of California and fifth-place finish at Paris-Nice in 2012, also has supported another one of BMC Racing's primary goals: getting the team a win. Given the talent on the team, there is a sentiment that not winning the race would be a letdown.

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Of course, that won't be easy against Team Sky, which boasts Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins. That's why van Garderen's start is even more important; he has the potential to pace Evans down the stretch, which will prove critical for the two-time Tour de France winner to emerge victorious in Paris. His role is two-fold: helping Evans and assisting the team in the process.

In that sense, the Americans won't necessarily be gunning for any stage victories, just consistency. Van Garderen's performance thus far puts them in a good position to do just that.

If Evans and Co. break out in the 2012 Tour de France, van Garderen figures to play a big part in it. Not bad for a 23-year-old just realizing his potential.

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