Van Garderen shows determination in chasing Tour stage win despite lack of form
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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Van Garderen shows determination in chasing Tour stage win despite lack of form

by Shane Stokes at 3:25 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Believes team-mate Evans could still finish in the top five of Tour de France

Tejay van GarderenAlthough he’s a long way off his expected form in this year’s Tour de France, falling far short of the condition he showed in placing fifth overall last year and in winning this season’s Tour of California, Tejay van Garderen showed determination in chasing a stage victory on yesterday’s fourteenth stage.

The American rider plus his BMC Racing team-mate Marcus Burghardt infiltrated an eighteen man break which built an insurmountable lead during the stage.

“The goal was to win the stage. We knew we weren't the fastest guys in the sprint, so we had to ride aggressively and try to get away,” van Garderen said afterwards.

“There were times when we were rolling together pretty well, and there were times that guys would sit on and that would get a little annoying. For a long time there they were keeping us at one minute, a couple of teams who missed the break were chasing us, then all of a sudden they gave up the chase.”

Van Garderen made clear that it was hard work, saying that any time in the Tour that a break goes all the way to the line, it is one that was difficult to get into in the first place.

Once it became apparent that they would stay away, the thoughts turned how to try to turn that into victory. He knew that the odds were stacked against him, but said he’d do what he could. “It's hard when you're not a sprinter to win out of a group like that,” he said. “We knew we didn’t have the fastest guy to the line so we had to ride aggressively. Maybe if there was a harder climb or a climb closer to the finish we would have had a good chance. But we had to try.”

Van Garderen and Burghardt launched several attacks but these were closely marked by the other riders. Van Garderen dug so deep that he eventually ran out of gas, dropping back and finishing sixteenth, two places behind Burghardt.

He was disappointed that the attempt didn’t work out, but had a feeling of satisfaction about the day.

“I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I said I was going to go for it. It didn’t work, but it feels good to give it a try.”

The team’s attention will now turn towards helping Cadel Evans in the final seven days of racing. The Tour de France heads to Mont Ventoux today, with the tough summit finish there certain to upend the general classification. Evans is currently sitting back in thirteenth place, six minutes and 54 seconds back.

The Australian won the race in 2011 and while his goal of repeating that success looks impossible, van Garderen believes that he will advance in the mountains ahead.

“Every year at the Tour when you get into the third week, guys start to die and crack in front of you,” he said. “Cadel has shown that he can be pretty stable in the third week. I would say that he could still finish in the top ten, and maybe in the top five.”


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