Tejay Van Garderen is earning the white jersey as he helps Cadel Evans defend his Tour de France title. After a strong time trial and aggressive ride yesterday up the La Toussuire climb, he leads the young riders’ competition by 1-54 minutes.

“I enjoy being in the white, but it’s not something I think about long term, for Paris,” the American told Cycling Weekly. “If it happens, it happens, and that’s awesome. If it doesn’t happen, and Cadel’s in yellow, that’s the main goal.”

He attacked on the Col de la Croix de Fer climb yesterday to setup a counter-move for Evans. The two briefly rode ahead of Bradley Wiggins’ Sky team before succumbing. He eased off on the final climb to La Toussuire help his captain.

Van Garderen made his gains for the white jersey in the time trials. In the prologue, he finished 10 seconds behind winner Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) and in the long TT to Besançon, he placed fourth and 1-06 minutes behind Wiggins. His Besançon result earned him the jersey again after losing it for two days to Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis). He said that it feels good to wear it.

“It does, it was kind of unexpected. I thought it was gone for good after stage seven. I’m happy to have it back,” Van Garderen continued.

“If I’m still there within striking distance in the final TT, then I’ll go full gas because there’s nothing to save with the Paris stage the next day.”

“We get nice press with it,” BMC’s general manager, Jim Ochowicz told Cycling Weekly. “That’s not why he’s here, it’s not our goal. … The number one priority is Cadel.”

BMC Racing signed the 23-year-old over the winter from HTC-Highroad. In his debut year in 2010, he placed third in the Critérium du Dauphiné and last year, he placed second in the Tour of Algarve.

The team hopes that the experience riding for Evans will pay off in the coming years. Ochowicz sees Van Garderen as a future Tour winner.

“It wouldn’t surprise me, [holding the yellow jersey] for one day or for the entirety of the race, I don’t know,” Ochowicz said. “He’s got the skills, he can TT and he can climb, he can hang in the bunch on flat stages… He has all the characteristics of a Grand Tour rider. It makes sense that his future will be yellow.”

Ochowicz allowed Van Garderen to push as hard as possible in the Besançon time trial to see what was possible and to gain experience in a long time trial.

“It was not for the white jersey, but it was so he could ride a time trial at full gas and so that he could continue to improve that skill because someday he’s going to be sitting here with the yellow jersey on.”

Tour de France 2012: Latest news



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Nibali fails to crack Sky but pleased with Tour mountains performance



Roche ready to achieve career-long Tour top ten ambition



Wiggins: ‘I’m not some s**t rider that’s come from nowhere



Nibali hits out at Wiggins after Tour frustration



Cavendish enjoying new Tour role



Wiggins taking nothing for granted in ‘dream scenario’



Sky keeping Tour focus on Wiggins



Di Gregorio arrested by police at Tour de France


Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list



Tour 2012: Who will win?



Tour de France 2012 provisional start list



Tour de France 2012 team list

Tour de France 2012: Stage reports



Stage 11: Wiggins strengthens Tour lead as Evans slips back



Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour



Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT



Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks



Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage



Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage



Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades



Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes



Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne



Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory



Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt



Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second

Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs



Analysis: What we learned at La Planche des Belles Filles



Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour’s time trials



CW’s Tour de France podcasts



Blog: Tour presentation – chasing dreams and autographs



Comment: Cavendish the climber

Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries



Stage 11 by Graham Watson



Stage 10 by Graham Watson



Stage nine by Graham Watson



Stage eight by Graham Watson



Stage seven by Graham Watson



Stage six by Graham Watson



Stage five by Graham Watson



Stage four by Graham Watson



Stage three by Graham Watson



Stage two by Andy Jones



Stage two by Graham Watson



Stage one by Graham Watson



Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones



Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler



Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson



Tour de France 2012: Team presentation



Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce

Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage



Stage 10 live coverage



Stage nine live coverage



Stage six live coverage



Stage five live coverage



Stage four live coverage



Stage three live coverage



Cycling Weekly’s live text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2012: TV schedule

ITV4 live schedule

British Eurosport live schedule

Tour de France 2012: Related links



Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish



Brief history of the Tour de France



Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index



1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever