Van Garderen Wins Mountain-Top Finish At Catalunya26. March 2015 — Road Team
One day after seeing his hopes for the overall classification dashed by a crash, BMC Racing Team's Tejay van Garderen soloed to victory on Thursday's mountain-top finish at the Volta a Catalunya. (©Tim De Waele/TDWsport)
Van Garderen notched his first win of the season on the queen stage finish at the ski resort of La Molina. Last year, he scored his first career WorldTour win in a snow and fog-shrouded queen stage of the race at Vallter 2000.
"I have very good memories of this race from last year," van Garderen said. "I have an up-and-down relationship with this race. It was an unfortunate event yesterday with the crash. Luckily, I came away with minimal damage."
On Stage 3 Wednesday, van Garderen crashed on a descent and narrowly avoided hitting a guardrail about 35 kilometers from the finish. He was not seriously injured, but lost nearly 16 minutes and plummeted from 32nd to 104th in the standings.
"I was really motivated for today," van Garderen said. "I changed the tactic from trying to go for the classification and put everything into the stage. That was all I had in my mind today."
Van Garderen made the winning move on the final climb after the last two riders from the day's breakaway were overtaken by Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky) with five kilometers to go in the 188.4-km race. The 2012 "best young rider" at the Tour de France counter-attacked a move by Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team), then caught and passed Kiryienka before holding off strong chases by Alberto Contador, who finished third on the stage, and Richie Porte (Team Sky), who placed runner-up, three seconds back.
BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois commended van Garderen for bouncing back from a "bad, bad day" and especially credited the three riders who were with him in the leading group on the final climb: Darwin Atapuma, Amaël Moinard and Peter Stetina.
"This was a very nice victory and it was a nice win for both Tejay and for the entire team," Ledanois said. "Yesterday was a bad, bad day for Tejay. Today was a new day. His morale was good this morning. All the guys were ready to do their best."
Atapuma, who followed Contador's attack in the final kilometers, finished sixth on the stage, 11 seconds back, and moved into 10th overall, 54 seconds behind new race leader Bart De Clercq (Lotto Soudal).
"You never know how much Darwin can move up," Ledanois said. "The last stage in Barcelona with the Montjuïc is also hard. He is riding very strong, just like Tejay."
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