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Zurück zum BMC Racing Team

Tour de France Stage 12: Van Garderen in Breakaway Before Showdown on Alpe d'Huez

19. Juli 2018, Alpe d'Huez (FRA) — Road Team

The Tejay van Garderen breakaway early into the Col de la Madeleine. © A.S.O / A. Broadway

The Tour de France continued the legend of the Alpe d'Huez on stage 12 today with the toughest of the three mountain stages in the Alps featuring one category two and three hors catégorie climbs, including the finale on the iconic 21 switchbacks.

The first 30km, of the 175.5km course, were almost entirely downhill and this set the stage for a fast start with various moves trying to go clear before the peloton reached the bottom of the 25.3km long Col de la Madeleine, which has an average gradient of 6.2%, altogether albeit strung out.

Tejay van Garderen was part of a three-rider move on the early slopes of the climb but the main bunch wasn't initially happy about letting them go clear and so, they were pulled back before more attacks drew a group of around 30 riders, once again including van Garderen, out at the front of the race.

The intense early pace mixed with the gradient and length of the opening climb saw riders dropping off the back of the peloton and at the summit of the first ascent of the day, a reduced bunch was sitting 2'20" behind the now 26-rider breakaway.

After navigating the first of two fast descents as well as the Lacets de Montvernier, a 3.4km climb with an average gradient of 8.2%, the van Garderen group began climbing the Col de la Croix de Fer 30 seconds behind Pierre Rolland (EF-Education First - Drapac p/b Cannondale) who was leading solo with the peloton around four minutes back.

What was left of the breakaway split behind Rolland in the opening kilometers of the 29km long climb with van Garderen losing contact and riding his own tempo as ten riders bridged across including Steven Kruijswijk (Team Lotto-NLJumbo), who then attacked to go over the top three minutes ahead of the first chasing group and another three minutes ahead of a select yellow jersey group.

The lone leader's advantage was sitting at 4'20" as he began the final 13.8km climb, with an average gradient of 8.1%. However, with a battle between the other General Classification contenders heating up behind him, he was eventually caught in the closing kilometers of the stage with race leader, Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) going on to take the day's honors ahead of Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale).

Michael Schär and van Garderen were BMC Racing Team's first two riders across the line, finishing in a group around twenty minutes behind the stage winner.

Race Reaction from Inside the Team Car with DS Fabio Baldato:

"It was a good try from Tejay at the beginning. Just like we planned, he did his best to get into the good breakaway but unfortunately, there were really strong guys in there including some of those on GC like Valverde and Kruijswijk for the most part. He tried to anticipate these guys alongside six or seven other riders in order to see if it was possible to go away without a GC leader but it didn't happen. When we started the Croix de Fer, he rode his own tempo to save some energy as fighting with the GC riders at the front was almost impossible. Behind, the other guys were good and kept a good tempo to be safely within the time limit and that was also a priority of the day."

"We've seen both Damiano and Tejay motivated and now, the objective is to try and go for a stage. The General Classification is not really our plan anymore. We're not going to try to finish in the top ten or top 15 overall. It doesn't matter. Instead we will go for a stage win. The guys can now take a couple of days to recover and then we will see what happens and see if we can make another attack when we reach the Pyrenees."

Race Profile

Tour de France

Stage 12: Bourg-Saint-Maurice Les Arcs > Alpe d'Huez, 175.5km

Top 3: 1. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 2. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) 3. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale)

BMC Racing Team Top 3: 33. Michael Schär 37. Tejay van Garderen 44. Greg Van Avermaet

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