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Tour de France winner so far: A new type of American champion

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His Garmin squad is one of the few teams in the professional peloton that’s openly committed to an “anti-doping” policy.

Throughout the season, Garmin riders are subjected to independent drug controls run by Dr. Don Catlin, a pioneer of anti-doping tests. (HTC-Highroad, a rival American squad, also uses Catlin’s lab.)

These tests are a supplement to the official controls administered by race officials and the UCI, professional cycling’s governing body.

In addition, the team has riders sign a contract that stipulates, among other things, that they won’t use needles or take infusions of any kind.

Originally, Vaughters’ team was focused on youth training. After retiring from a nine-year racing career in 2003, including a stint with Armstrong’s US Postal Squad, the Denver native took $50,000 of his own money and started Slipstream Sports, a venture aimed at cultivating young American riders.

Two years later, he was approached by Doug Ellis, a New York businessman who wanted to start an American ProTour team. By 2008, the squad had become Garmin-Chipotle, partnering with the GPS makers and the Mexican grill restaurant chain, and was racing in the Tour de France.

A Tour stage win proved to be elusive for the team, though it came close at times: Before Sunday’s win, the team had recorded 17 second or third place finishes in the Tour.

“We’ve got to get that monkey off our backs,” Vaughters said last week at the team’s pre-race press conference, referring to the lack of stage wins.

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