Tour de France: Tejay van Garderen speaks about near-miss on Alpe d’Huez
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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tour de France: Tejay van Garderen speaks about near-miss on Alpe d’Huez

by VeloNation Press at 7:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
“There are a million things you could do to say I could have won the stage”

Tejay van GarderenAfter what has been a difficult Tour de France for the BMC Racing Team, Tejay van Garderen picked up the team’s first top three finish in the race when he was runner-up on the Alpe d’Huez climb.

The American, who was fifth overall last year but who found himself below par in the 2013 race, got into the day’s break, rode well on the first ascent of Alpe d’Huez and over and down the Col de Sarenne, then pushed ahead of breakaway companions Moreno Moser (Cannondale) and, later, Christophe Riblon (Ag2r La Mondiale).

He dropped the latter twelve kilometres from the finish and opened what appeared to be a decisive forty second lead. However he weakened towards the top and Riblon managed to get back up to him. The Frenchman then attacked hard, got a gap and hit the line 59 seconds ahead.

“It was hard,” van Garderen said afterwards. “The crowds – I love the crowds, but every now and then you get one or two guys who get too rowdy out there. But it was an amazing feeling being at the front of the race at the Tour de France on such an iconic climb.”

Van Garderen was delayed on the descent of the Col de Sarenne, losing approximately forty seconds when he was forced to stop after his chain was jammed against his frame. He said the rough roads caused the issue, with the chain hopping around as he was trying to change the gears.

“It wasn’t an equipment failure and it wasn’t any sort of a problem that the mechanic did. It was just bad luck, it could happen to anyone,” he said.

Asked if the energy needed to recover from that time loss could have cost him later on, he said that he was unsure. “It is hard to say. There are a million things you could do to say I could have won the stage,” he explained. “Maybe if I had gambled a little bit and attacked later than earlier, then maybe that. You can’t change what happened, so you have to move on.

“It was painful to lose, but at the same time it was kind of surprising we were even in the hunt for the win,” he continued. “When I did my first attack the first time up Alpe d'Huez, when we only had seven minutes, I didn't actually think at that moment we were going to stay away. I was just doing it to show my presence in the race."

Van Garderen shone last year, finishing fifth overall in the race. The performance built on earlier pointers to his talent, including third overall in the 2010 Critérium du Dauphiné, but this time round he has been lacking. He’s not quite sure why his form has dropped since winning the Tour of California, but he’s not at the level he had expected.

Thursday’s stage was consequently good for his morale, helping to pick him up after his GC chances dissolved earlier in the race.

“It has been an experience, for sure. I have moments in this Tour that I am proud of, and I have definitely had moments that I have been pretty low,” he said. “But all in all it will make me stronger for the future.”

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