May 12, 2010

Team Garmin-Transitions is set to go in the TTT. Cyclingnews’ Stephen Ferrand found that despite losing a key component to that in Christian Vande Velde, it has given the team new motivation.

Garmin-Transitions will be fueled by extra motivation for the Giro d’Italia’s stage four team time trial on Wednesday, after Christian Vande Velde crashed out of the race on Monday afternoon. David Millar said that if victorious in the team time trial, the team will dedicate the stage win to their fallen teammate.

Due to the chaos of the Giro’s finish into Middelburg on Monday, Millar didn’t learn about Vande Velde’s crash and subsequent abandon until after the stage. Having fought hard to maintain his position in the front group, the Briton was justifiably proud of his performance.

“It was crazy. But I’m getting quite good at this. Riding the Three Days of De Panne taught me the way to do it,” he said.

But his pride turned to anger and despair when Cyclingnews told him about Vande Velde, and he understandably let out an angry string of expletives. Millar and Vende Velde have a special relationship that goes far deeper than just being teammates. They are both key founding members of the Garmin team and live close to one another in Girona, Spain.

The two have different characters, different qualities as athletes and different objectives, but they have made those differences compatible and united them to create a strong partnership. Neither would perform as well without the support and friendship of the other.

Christian Vande Velde - Giro d'Italia, stage 3

Before flying to Italy to continue in the Giro d’Italia Millar sat with Vande Velde in a team car, consoling his friend as he fought the pain of his broken collarbone and tried to accept that he had crashed out of the Giro for a second consecutive year.

Millar was no doubt trying to convince Vande Velde that it would not affect his chances at the Tour de France and that he could be back to ride the Dauphiné Libéré or the Tour de Suisse.

All of the Garmin-Transitions riders leaned into the car and affectionately said goodbye, rubbing Vande Velde’s head or squeezing his leg. The message was poignant and emotional: Don’t give up man, fight back, you’ll be back for the Tour.

Read the full interview.

More photos from the Giro d’Italia:
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