Great profile of Garmin-Slipstream team leader Christian Vande Velde in this morning’s New York Times; it’s nice to see that the Times recognizes that even with Lance Armstrong’s comeback attempt this year, that there are still other American Tour de France contenders worthy of coverage. Excerpt below. Click through to read the entire article.

Christian Vande Velde, a Support Rider, Breaks Away – NYTimes.com

LEMONT, Ill. — When the wind in this Chicago suburb began to whip last winter, the cyclist Christian Vande Velde sought refuge in his basement.

As his colleagues trained in more sensible climates, Vande Velde placed his racing bike in front of a big-screen television and pedaled in place. A recording of the 2008 Tour de France played on a loop.

Inside a room with bare beige walls, he rejoined the peloton as it traversed the cobblestones, sprinted down wide boulevards and climbed the switchbacks of Alpe d’Huez. Riding along with his alter ego was surreal, he said, as he watched himself challenge the leaders, the mountains and the galaxy of miles ahead.

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