On one of the most mountainous stages of the USA Pro Challenge, BMC Racing Team’s Tejay van Garderen chased hard going up, while teammate Mathias Frank helped with the pursuit going down. But ultimately, it was not enough to prevent van Garderen from losing the overall lead Wednesday.
Loss Of Lead Provides ‘Extra Motivation’
Van Garderen conceded the race leader’s yellow jersey to Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp) on tie-breaker criteria. The two came into the day tied on overall time and both finished in a group of 26 who arrived two seconds after solo winner Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp). But the relevant criteria to determine the race leader – first to the sum of the stage placings (both totaled 30) and then to placings on the last stage ridden – favored Vande Velde. He finished ninth in the 210.1 kilometer race, three places ahead of van Garderen. “Yes, I am disappointed,” van Garderen said. “But this gives me a little extra motivation for the upcoming days. I don’t see anything really changing in the dynamics of the race. It’s still going to come down to the time trial on Sunday in Denver.”
Stage 2 Timing In Question
BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Michael Sayers said he filed a protest regarding the results of Tuesday’s race after officials judged that Vande Velde crossed the finish line in the same time as van Garderen, who won the stage. Sayers said officials told him they would review the result and issue a ruling Thursday. Regardless of that outcome, Sayers said he was proud of the way the BMC Racing Team defended the lead on a stage that included ascents of two major mountain passes. “We worked very hard as a team to bring Danielson’s group back,” he said. “It was on pins and needles the whole day. The team rode way better than you could have ever believed and we were a really strong unit today.”
All But One Brought Back
Danielson was the last of more than a dozen riders who had been part of a breakaway the BMC Racing Team had kept in check for three-quarters of the race. Over the summit, he led by 1:45 over van Garderen’s small chase group. But Mathias – after catching back on the descent – worked hard to shrink the gap over the final 20 kilometers as the chase grew grew. “Garmin put a lot of pressure on us on the first climb,” Frank said. “But we did everything we could to defend the jersey.” Thursday’s 156.5 km stage will climb two mountains before finishing with a four-kilometer climb. “Really, for the team, it’s not so bad to lose the lead,” Frank said. “Garmin will have to defend. And for Tejay, it’s good because he is still tied on time.”