American Tejay Van Garderen provided another glimpse of his future potential with a fourth place finish in the Tour de France prologue to pull on the white jersey on Saturday. Awarded to the best placed overall rider aged 25 and under, Van Garderen did his reputation no damage at all by finishing only 13 seconds behind legendary time trialist Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland. Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen of Team Sky was only 1 second further behind, with Argos-Shimano pair Patrick Gretsch and Marcel Kittel, both from Germany, 02 and 11 seconds behind the American respectively.
"It's not often that I'm on the good side of a close call so I didn't think it was bound to happen," said Van Garderen. "I was a little worried about Boasson Hagen going into this but I'm definitely thrilled to take the white jersey."
Despite having the tools to try and take the jersey all the way to Paris, the BMC rider has a far more important job – helping defending champion Cadel Evans for as long as possible.
"Defending this jersey is not the goal; we have one goal here and that's to get Cadel in yellow in Paris but if I can be of good support for him in themountains then we'll see."
Evans's biggest challenger this year is on-form Briton Bradley Wiggins, who is already 10sec ahead of the Australian after finishing runner-up to Cancellara in the 6.4km race against the clock. Although the Australian has been less successful this season than Wiggins, who pushed Evans into third on his way to defending his Criterium du Dauphine stage race title, Van Garderen says their loyalty is unwavering.
"We have full confidence in Cadel again," added the American. "He's had a bit of a struggle here and there this year but all in all, he has three wins under his belt and he's been on the podium at the Dauphiné and his form is coming in right on time. Cadel is flying right now and I think today I proved that I can be there to support him."