Tejay van Garderen of the BMC Racing Team regained the overall lead Thursday at the USA Pro Challenge on the strength of his third-place finish in the 156.5-kilometer race that finished with a climb to Beaver Creek.
Looking For Seconds
Van Garderen crossed the finish line three places ahead of previous race leader Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp), who finished in the same time – 2:58 behind solo stage winner Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan). Van Garderen and Vande Velde remain tied in overall time – 17 hours, 34 minutes and 18 seconds – but on tie-breaker criteria the Boulder, Colo., resident pulled on the yellow jersey by virtue of his lower sum of cumulative finishes. “It’s nice to have the jersey, but I attacked more looking for seconds,” van Garderen said. “So it’s too bad I wasn’t able to get time. But the jersey is always nice to have.” Van Garderen said the not-so-steep nature of the final climb kept him from gaining a few precious seconds. “It was tough, but it was gradual, so it was not as hard – and then it would flatten out a bit, so people could recover and come back,” he said.
First Climb Friday Not Easy
While Voigt was solo for nearly the entire stage, BMC Racing Team’s Ivan Santaromita and Johann Tschopp were part of a 14-rider chase group that included Vande Velde’s teammate, Peter Stetina, who was less than 20 seconds out of the lead. “I knew Garmin was going to try to send guys up the road on Independence Pass,” van Garderen said. “They got Stetina up there, so they are doing anything they can to not control the race and they’re doing a good job of it. But RusVelo and Liquigas-Cannondale controlled it pretty well to bring Stetina back.” Friday’s mostly downhill, 189.7 km race has the potential to be one the BMC Racing Team will have to control, van Garderen said. “We start out up Hoosier Pass and I’ve done that climb before. It’s not easy,” he said. “So the breakaway is going to be strong. There’s no slipping in there by accident. Only strong guys are going to be in there so it’s going to be hard to catch.”