Van Garderen Takes Dauphiné Lead11. June 2015, Pra-Loup (FRA) — Road Team
BMC Racing Team's Tejay van Garderen assumed overall leadership of the Critérium du Dauphiné from teammate Rohan Dennis by finishing runner-up to Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) on Thursday's mountain-top finish.
Van Garderen had been tied on time with Dennis after the BMC Racing Team won Tuesday's team time trial. But Dennis was unable to make the selection on the penultimate climb of the 161-kilometer race, allowing van Garderen to ride into the lead by finishing 36 seconds behind Bardet.
Van Garderen showed his strength by countering an attack by 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Team Sky) in the last two kilometers.
"At first, I did not want to follow him out of fear I would go into the red," van Garderen said. "So I kept him at a reasonable distance and stayed within myself. It looked like he kind of died at the end, so I was able to get the jump on him. It kind of surprised me. I thought he was going to start riding away."
With nearly all of the top Tour de France contenders competing in France this week – save for 2014 champion Nairo Quintana and recent Giro d'Italia winner Alberto Contador – van Garderen said he took confidence from his performance.
"I think everyone kind of wants to strut their stuff a little bit before July and I think I showed I am right up there with them," he said. "Everyone has their different methods. You can never read too much into the Dauphiné as far as what their form is going to be in the Tour. But I definitely take some satisfaction and confidence out of today."
With three days of the race to go, van Garderen is 17 seconds ahead of Beñat Intxausti (Movistar Team), who finished fourth, and 20 seconds ahead of Bardet. Those two are among five riders within 45 seconds of the lead.
BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said the BMC Racing Team did a good job to help propel van Garderen into the lead. But a lot of work remains to keep him there, he said.
"The guys all did a very good job on a hard day that had 4,000 meters of climbing," he said. "But we have another three days to come that will be very hard. And there might be bad weather. The most important thing is that the jersey stays with us."
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