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Tejay Van Garderen hung up the bike in June after a 12-year professional career that included week-long stage race wins and some promising early results in Grand Tours, including two fifth place finishes overall in the Tour de France along with a stage win at the Giro. But the American isn’t venturing far from racing.
For his next chapter, Tejay is staying with EF Education–Nippo, where he spent his final few seasons as a racer, this time as a team director. And he’s hardly taking time off, hitting the ground running in his new role already this month at the Vuelta. He took some time from his busy schedule to join this week’s episode of Bobby & Jens.
The new job comes with many responsibilities, and is rapidly changing as more reconnaissance technology and training tools become available. It’s a change that Tejay has witnessed firsthand as a racer, noting that some things that were universal at the start of his career, like using a print copy of the road book and marking out important race moments on a stem sticker, have all but disappeared. And widespread adoption of technologies like GPS head units have increasingly enabled faster racing. “Once one person does it, if you’re not doing it, you’re behind, so everyone’s gotta do it,” he says. Now everyone gets fed tons of information and all the teams fight for everything. Tejay and co-hosts Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt have plenty to discuss about how racing has changed and what’s behind the rise in crashes.
And the conversation touches on the lofty expectations placed on Tejay early in his career as the next great American GC racer after he showed promising results. Hear, in his own words, what Tejay wishes he could have changed about his career. And gain some insight into the moments that he most valued while racing.
Luckily, in retirement, he’s still perfectly happy just to ride his bike all day—and these days get a little bit of work in on his long-neglected upper body. But the racing had stopped being as fun to him, and he stopped performing at the level he had been accustomed to. Tejay recounts the exact moment of realization that he didn’t want to race anymore, and talks about moving on from that chapter of his life.
Listen to the latest episode of Bobby & Jens for the full conversation.
“Bobby & Jens” is a weekly VeloNews podcast brought to you by Zwift. It stars former pros Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt and features conversations with top athletes, coaches, emerging stars, and other newsmakers from the wide world of cycling. A new episode drops every Friday. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.