Tejay van Garderen (HTC-Highroad)
Part of a new generation of potentially great American cyclists, van Garderen, 22, will be starting his first Tour de France. His grand tour debut was at last year’s Vuelta a España, where joined the HTC squad in its TTT win on stage 1 and finished sixth on stage 4. Expectations from the outside will be set low, but van Garderen is not one to buy into the just-happy-to-be-here mantra.
The HTC-Highroad rider is exceptionally competitive, witness his “disappointment” after taking the Best Young Rider jersey and finishing fifth overall at the Tour of California. But that’s what happens when you finish on the podium at a major Tour tune-up race, as van Garderen did at the 2010 Dauphine. Next up, a Tour de France podium. The question is not if, but when.