Van Garderen and Roche react to Porte’s stage win and race leadership
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Saturday, March 09, 2013

Van Garderen and Roche react to Porte’s stage win and race leadership

by VeloNation Press at 6:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Paris-Nice
 
Ambitions being revised after Australian’s solo victory

Tejay van GarderenWith a mountainous but potentially indecisive stage to follow today in Paris-Nice plus an uphill time trial that will most likely not see race leader Riche Porte (Sky) lose any significant time, two of those who had hoped to fight for the final victory in the race appear to be revising their goals.

Porte attacked close to the top of the Montagne de Lure yesterday, immediately getting a gap and hitting the line 26 seconds ahead of Denis Menchov, the Katusha rider he caught and dropped, and 33 seconds ahead of a group containing most of the classification contenders.

The race leader Andrew Talansky (Garmin Sharp) was there, the American rider appearing to crack slightly after he himself attacked the leading group, as were Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team), last year’s runner-up Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) and others.

Van Garderen had made clear that he had started Paris-Nice with the target of winning the race, but as he is now 52 seconds back in fifth, his BMC Racing Team directeur sportif John LeLangue appears to be revising the team’s goals.

“He was there until the end but there was nothing to do against Porte when he attacked,” he said after yesterday’s stage. “Tejay is making a good finish, he is now top five. We see that everything is still really tight between the places for the podium and the top ten…it is only a few seconds.

“Tomorrow is maybe not the most difficult stage, but it's a tricky one, so we have to be careful. Then the Col d’Eze…we will try to do our best to regain a few seconds and maybe a few places.”

In his reaction to the stage, van Garderen suggested that he didn’t get his timing right, yet also indicated that he was not as punchy as he had expected to be.

“It was a bit of a missed opportunity. You kind of had to pick your moment because there was a lot of headwind,” he explained. “If you attack into a headwind, then you're not going to go very far.

“Porte definitely picked the right moment. I felt good on the climb, but I dunno…I guess I'm not as explosive as I could be. Maybe that was due to the cold, I don’t know.”

Team Saxo Tinkoff leader Nicolas Roche had also hoped to fight for yellow, but things didn’t go to plan. He attacked briefly four kilometres from the line, but was visibly suffering and didn’t break the elastic. He was subsequently unable to respond when the pace lifted, and ultimately finished in the second chasing group behind Porte, 49 seconds back. And while he improved one place in the general classification, his position of fourteenth overall, one minute and nine seconds back, means that his chances of finishing on the podium look very unlikely.

“I'm a bit disappointed as I had hoped for a better finish,” he said. “I was feeling strong and the team supported me all the way but I just lacked that little bit of power on the final kilometres.”

He too appears to have set a new target. “I'm not that far away from top ten and I'm going for it on the time trial,” he said.

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