BMC Racing Team’s Tejay van Garderen sprinted past Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) around the final turn of Thursday’s mountain-top finish to win the fourth stage at Volta a Catalunya.
Cold Might Have Helped
Van Garderen attacked out of a select group that included the race favorites in the closing kilometers of the 166.4-kilometer race that started in bright sunshine but finished in cold, fog and snow flurries. “I let the other guys do a couple little attacks first so they could kind of wear each other out,” van Garderen said. “I think I got a little lucky and I think the cold might have helped me a little bit. I think I can cope with it a bit better than some of those guys who are 60 kilos. This is my first WorldTour victory and to be up there against all the names like (Alberto) Contador, (Chris) Froome and Purito (Joaquim Rodriguez) – grand tour winners – is a huge honor.” Bardet was the only rider who could follow van Garderen’s move and the pair arrived at the finish three seconds ahead of Contador. Rodriguez, the race leader, finished one second later in fourth. Van Garderen’s victory was his first of the season. It follows a runner-up result at the Tour of Oman in February after he was forced to withdraw from Paris-Nice due to illness earlier this month.
Good Team Spirit
With three stages to go, van Garderen sits third overall, seven seconds off Rodriguez’s lead and three seconds behind Contador. The overall winner of last year’s USA Pro Challenge and Amgen Tour of California said making a further move up the standings will mean staying aggressive. “It’s going to be difficult because there aren’t that many opportunities,” he said. “There is no time trial, there are no more mountain stages. But if we see an opportunity, we are definitely going to take it.” BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said van Garderen’s win was a culmination of “good team spirit” that led to top 10 finishes by Marcus Burghardt on the first two days and a fourth-place finish by van Garderen on Wednesday’s other mountain-top finish. “The proof today is the victory and the result,” Ledanois said. “I told Tejay that it wasn’t necessary to attack until the last climb, in the finale. With the legs he has, more is possible. But for the moment, the podium and a stage victory is perfect.”
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