Tour of California: Van Garderen says time lost yesterday won’t be crucial
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Monday, May 13, 2013

Tour of California: Van Garderen says time lost yesterday won’t be crucial

by Shane Stokes at 1:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California
American rider faces important stage today with first summit finish of race

Tejay van GarderenAlthough he was clear that giving up time to two GC rivals wasn’t an ideal way for he and the peloton to begin the Tour of California, Tejay van Garderen doesn’t believe that the final outcome will be determined by what happened on yesterday’s opening stage.

Van Garderen and many of the other contenders lost out when Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM Procycling Team) and Francisco Mancebo (5-Hour Energy presented by Kenda) jumped away inside the final five kilometres.

The duo rode well together and with a little lack of cohesion in the case, hit the line six seconds clear of the chasers. When the time bonuses were factored into account, it meant that the stage winner Westra gained sixteen seconds over those behind, Mancebo opened a twelve second gap and Peter Sagan – the Cannondale rider who led the bunch in for third – got four seconds.

Van Garderen and the others are not concerned about Sagan, but giving up time to the other two riders was not expected beforehand.

“It's never a good thing to start a race on the back foot,” he said. “If it would have been two other guys, it would have been no problem. But those two guys are threats for the GC, so I would have rather not have lost time to them.”

However he’s not panicking. “With the two big finishes and the long time trial, I don't think sixteen seconds is going to end up making or breaking the race,” he reasoned.

The race heads to the first summit finish of the 2013 tour today, a tough finale at Palm Springs. Van Garderen is clear on the potential for a shakeup: “I think there are going to be some gaps, for sure,” he said.

He also believes another factor could also shape the race, namely the heat.

Yesterday’s stage sapped the strength of many riders due to the high temperatures, and some feel that today’s second leg of the race could be even hotter again. Sagan, who was dropped at one point and who also cramped close to the finish, is one who said that he suffered because of the change in conditions.

“We have certainly gone from one extreme to another because we have had an extremely cold winter…now in the extreme heat it is a big contrast,” said van Garderen. “You could see a lot of guys were struggling out there.”

His team-mate Philippe Gilbert was, like Sagan, another who got into difficulty. However unlike the Slovakian, he wasn’t able to get back in contact and starts today’s stage over nine minutes back.

“It was very, very warm and very fast at the end,” he said, talking about the factors which led to him being dropped. “I had the same feeling like in Australia (at the Santos Tour Down Under), with the jet lag I'm not that good.”

He will hope to improve today, but doesn't harbour thoughts of personal ambitions due to the nature of the finish. “For us, it's clear that it's everything for Tejay,” he said, pledging to ride for the young American. "He's good and he has big ambitions. If I can help him, I will do it.”


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