Tour De France Tejay van Garderen revels in momentum

Momentum was the word of the day for Tejay van Garderen, as he looked ahead to the rest of the Tour de France, following BMC's team time trial (TTT) victory on Sunday.

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Momentum was the word of the day for Tejay van Garderen, as he looked ahead to the rest of the Tour de France, following BMC's team time trial (TTT) victory on Sunday.

Van Garderen - BMC's main general classification (GC) contender - moved into second overall after stage nine's 28km TTT, to be just 12 seconds off the yellow jersey.

With overall leader Chris Froome and Team Sky finishing a second behind BMC, Van Garderen revelled in an "incredible" opening segment of the 2015 Tour, which has left him in genuine contention for the GC title with two weeks remaining.

"It's an incredible feeling. So far the team has been incredible," the 26-year-old American told reporters in Plumelec.

"We've passed every test with flying colours. It's giving me a lot of morale going into the mountains. It's given the team a lot of morale to see me high up there in GC. Everything is clicking.

"It's all about momentum. I think we gained a lot of momentum in this first week."

Van Garderen finished second behind Froome in this year's Criterium du Dauphine - the traditional warm-up race for Le Tour - which has convinced the BMC rider he will be able to challenge the leading contenders in the mountains over the next fortnight.

With an advantage of 51secs on Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and over a minute on Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Van Garderen cannot be discounted.

But that trio - all considered genuine challengers pre-race - will be expected to fight back in the Pyrenees, following Monday's rest day.

Quintana was happy to see Movistar finish ahead of Tinkoff-Saxo and Astana, as he looks to reel in Froome.

"Today we've picked up a bit [of time] on some rivals," the ninth-placed Colombian said.

"In the mountains, we have to try to make up some more."

Contador, who won this year's Giro d'Italia in May and sits fifth overall, believes consistency will be critical.

"We'll see how everyone is in the mountains. I believe that a lot is still to happen in this Tour and everybody will have bad days. Hopefully we will have none," the 32-year-old said.

"This Tour will be won by regularity and I hope that this favours me."

Of the so-called 'Fab Four' expected to challenge for the yellow jersey, Nibali is in the worst position, sitting 13th - 2:22 behind Froome - but the Italian tried to keep positive ahead of Tuesday's 167km stage, which includes a mountain-top finish in La Pierre-Saint-Martin.

"I don't think I've found the right form just yet but I'm still confident for what might happen now," Nibali said.

"Now the Tour of the climbers starts and I'm confident."

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