Garmin-Cervélo proudly took victory laps on the Champs-Élysées on Sunday after securing the team’s prize in a spectacularly successful Tour de France.
Garmin-Cervélo earned a spot on the final podium in Paris with victory in the prestigious team’s competition and Tom Danielson secured a top-10 with ninth place overall in a solid Tour performance that also included a week-long run in the yellow jersey, three individual stage victories and the team time trial victory.
“We’ve had a great Tour but we’re most satisfied in the way that we did it,” said Garmin-Cervélo manager Jonathan Vaughters.
“This team is about teamwork, sacrifice, working as a unit, and that’s exactly how we rode this Tour. We came in with high goals and I think we’ve reached all those and more. We did it by working together and staying focused.”
Vaughters carried a cut-out, life-sized photo of Dave Zabriskie when the squad appeared on the podium for finish-line ceremony in honor for the American, who crashed out in stage 9.
Tyler Farrar kicked to fourth in the final-stage sprint Sunday as the Tour roared into Paris after completing 3,430km during 21 hard days of racing. Mark Cavendish won the final stage and Cadel Evans claimed the yellow jersey.
Tom Danielson was happy to arrive in Paris with a solid overall performance that saw him in ninth place at 8:15 in what was an excellent Tour debut.
“I was able to avoid the crashes that took out some of the other GC contenders and I came to this Tour with great legs,” Danielson said.
“It’s a dream come true to get to Paris and to arrive here in the top-10. It’s every cyclist’s dream to race the Tour. This experience just will make me work even harder and come back next year with even higher ambitions.”
“It has been a fantastic Tour for me personally, even tough it ended in a sad way. But personally, it has been fantastic,” said Hushovd, referring the tragic terrorist attack in Norway.
“I am a more complete rider this year. I am a higher level than ever before in my career. Just look at the stages I won this year, they’re very different to those I’ve won before.”
The 2011 Tour started off with a bang, with world champion Thor Hushovd sprinting to third in the opening stage. Garmin-Cervélo powered to victory in the team time trial in stage 2 which put Hushovd into the yellow jersey.
Tyler Farrar bolted to his first career stage victory the following day before Hushovd and Garmin-Cervélo bravely defended the yellow until stage 9.
Hushovd wasn’t finished yet. He attacked over the Col d’Aubisique in the Pyrénées to take a surprise victory in Lourdes. Hushovd won again in a transition stage to Gap when he and Ryder Hesjedal rode perfect tactics to deliver the team’s fourth stage win.
Once the Tour pushed into the Alps, Danielson, Hesjedal and Christian Vande Velde stepped up to protect Danielson’s GC placing. Their strong rides helped Garmin-Cervélo cement the team classification, which is measured by the time of the top-3 riders in each stage.
“This Tour has been huge for us,” said Vande Velde. “This has been a landmark Tour for us. We are happy and content to get all the success this year after being so close to a stage victory in our previous Tours. JV (Vaughters) set the bar pretty high this year and I was definitely skeptical coming in, but we really delivered. It will definitely boost our confidence for the future.”
The team’s riders were joined by Garmin-Cervélo’s many behind-the-scenes workers for a big post-Tour celebration in Paris.
There’s no rest for the weary as the team keeps right on racing. Hesjedal, for example, will lead Garmin-Cervélo in next weekend’s Clásica San Sebastián in Spain.
More photos from the Tour de France:
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