Top Five Finish Overall for Van Garderen After Fast Finale in Barcelona26. March 2017, Barcelona (ESP) — Road Team
Barcelona was the backdrop to the final day of racing at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya with Brent Bookwalter riding as part of the day’s early breakaway before Tejay van Garderen secured fifth place overall after seven thrilling days of racing.
In a change to tradition this week, it took only 5km for a 21-rider breakaway, including Brent Bookwalter, to clear off the front of the peloton and start to extend an advantage which reached a maximum of over three minutes.
Approaching the first of eight finishing circuits, which included the Alt de Montjuïc climb, six riders attacked from the original breakaway and held on to a lead of around 2’50” until the peloton picked up the pace with 40km remaining.
The final two breakaway riders continue to push hard at the front of the race, and eventually, the race was back together as the riders approached the finish line for the final lap.
Attacks flew off the front of the regrouped peloton over the closing 10km of the race, forcing riders to drop off the back of the main bunch until only a group of around 20 riders remained.
A final move by Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) looked like it would make it to the line but the speed of the riders brought the group back together just on the line with Valverde taking the stage win and securing overall victory.
Tejay Van Garderen finished safely in the bunch behind to secure fifth overall on the General Classification, 1’34” behind Valverde.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Tejay van Garderen:
"When the breakaway went as we saw that Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team), who was only four minutes down on the GC, was in there, we knew that they [Movistar Team] weren't going to let it go. We had Brent Bookwalter there to cover the move, and it was good that he could represent us up at the front of the race. When he hit the circuits, there was a lot of attacks and a really fast pace. I was able to stick with the GC guys, and I felt good, so I was looking to see if I could attack and gain a few seconds. In the end, the pace was just so high, and the opportunity didn't present itself, but I am happy with my position overall."
"I've felt strong and healthy all week. I think my form has been solid. For me, the team time trial was the highlight of my week, and La Molina was also a good day. Reflecting on the Lo Port climb, I know that I have some work to do to get ready for the Giro d'Italia in May but there is still time, and I don't think I need to panic. I am glad I could put my name on the scoreboard in terms of the UCI WorldTour this week."
"I definitely feel that my form has improved even from Tirreno-Adriatico. I can't sugarcoat it too much, a lot of it was down to piggy-backing on the opening team time trial. Now, I have to be prepared to work on the areas I need to and I know I have the work ethic to do that so, I think I am on the right track for May."
"We thought today would go one of two ways. Either the first attack would work or that we would be racing for an hour trying to get in the breakaway. In the end, it was the former that happened and after a few pulls on the front with some motivated guys we were gone. It was nice to be part of the group and to finish the week by showing myself and the team that I still felt strong after a tough week of racing."
"It was a real team effort from the start, quite literally, to finish and after we had lost Rohan Dennis and Ben Hermans, the rest of us had to dig deep, and I was happy I still had a little bit left to get up the road."
"Tejay van Garderen's fifth place is a real testament to the work of everyone over the past week. Kilian Frankiny and Joey Rosskopf were doing the work of two teammates at some points, and everyone has really pulled their weight over the past week."
Sports Director, Jackson Stewart:
"It was a really fast and aggressive race today. We were happy to have Brent Bookwalter in the original breakaway as there was a potentially dangerous rider in the group, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) and we wanted to try and go for the stage win and protect our place on the General Classification."
"In the end, the bunch behind pulled really strong with multiple teams having an interest in terms of the overall results as well as going for the stage win, so it eventually came back together. Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) got the best of everyone, and there was no change overall. I think Tejay van Garderen was really comfortable in the front group especially with the pace on the course."
"We've had some ups and downs this week, and we by no means wanted to challenge our relationship with Movistar Team as everyone wants quality competitors that raise the level of racing. Ultimately we can leave this race happy with winning the first stage, with the top five position on the General Classification as well as with how the guys have ridden over the course of the week. If we asked ourselves what we were looking forward to coming into the race, that is what it would have been."
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
Stage 7: Barcelona > Barcelona, 138.7km
Top 3: 1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) 2. Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo) 3. Arthur Vichot (FDJ)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 13. Tejay van Garderen 51. Samuel Sánchez 58. Alessandro De Marchi