Tejay van Garderen:
"Team Sky’s line-up is impressive. Sometimes it can be a blessing and sometimes it can be a curse. They bring such a strong line-up and the defending champion so everything is on them. They’re the ones that need to control, set the pace, dictate the tactics and put their noses in the wind. That’s going to cost them energy.
Everything in this Tour points to it coming down the third week. They have a strong line up, but once you get into the third week are they going to be burnt by then?
They have pretty much all the pressure on their shoulders. They’ve won three Tours in the past four years so they’ve shown that they can handle it but it’s still a big ask. Froome is Froome and he’s shown good form at the Dauphiné but he’s also shown that he’s beatable.
Suisse was always going to be a question mark because I hadn’t raced for six weeks and had just been training. I need that race fitness in order to get back into the swing of things. Seeing how hard it was, that gave me that last little bump that I needed.
I’d reached my race weight by Suisse so now I’ve just been trying to sustain it and recover. I feel fresher and fitter than I ever have coming into the Tour.
I don’t regret doing the Tour de Suisse. That sounds crazy given the weather that we’ve had but in the end I didn’t crash and I didn’t get sick. I stayed healthy and got a good bump in fitness. I think it was the perfect decision. It also gave me a bit more freedom because if you come from the recon to the Dauphiné to another camp to the Tour, I needed a bit more space to do my own thing. I’ve spent a good amount of time in the team but also been able to forge in the way I like things.
It was certainly more low-key in terms of media stress. The Dauphiné is basically like tacking on another week to the Tour de France, while Suisse is just another bike race. It made me more relaxed.”