Letter: Thank you, Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Thank you, Aspen

Dear Aspen,

I just wanted to say “thank you.” I am very humbled by the support this town has shown during and after the Tour de France. My wife, Jessica, said she couldn’t walk down the street without hearing overwhelming encouragement from anyone she ran into. I have been in town for about a week now, and I hear shouts and cheers every couple of miles. It’s truly moving how much this town has embraced me as one of its own.

Obviously, the Tour de France didn’t have the ending I wanted or expected; unfortunately, this is sometimes how it goes in sports. We try hard to control as many variables as we can, but in the end a lot comes down to luck. The best thing to do is look forward. For me, this meant making the tough decision not to compete in the USA Pro Challenge in order to compete in one of cycling’s other Grand Tours, the Vuelta Espana. I would have loved to race in front of home crowds, come through Aspen and defend my title in the prestigious USA Pro Challenge. However, when I think about what the ultimate goal of my career is, I want to one day win the Tour de France. In order to do so, I feel that I need more experience fighting, staying healthy and managing fatigue over three weeks.

I’m truly sorry not to be able to race through Aspen. Hopefully this town will show the same level of support for both me, while I attempt to tackle three weeks in Spain, as well as the USA Pro Challenge, where some of the best racers in the world come through Aspen.

I couldn’t ask for a better hometown.

Tejay van Garderen