Top Ten Finish for van Garderen After Explosive Finish to Tour du Finistère14. April 2018, Quimper (FRA) — Road Team
Tejay van Garderen led the way for BMC Racing Team in the closing stages of the Tour du Finistère today by riding as part of a select group that eventually went on to battle for the win.
The rolling 190.5km course saw the riders tackle the final 35km of stage 5 of this year’s Tour de France and finished with five laps of a 9.7km finishing circuit around Quimper.
Attacks began early and after 15km of racing, two riders were starting to build up an advantage over the peloton while three chasers sat at various intervals in between.
A four-rider group eventually came together at the front of the race and as a result, the gap began to grow quickly with the main bunch trailing by almost nine minutes with 150km to go.
The peloton soon regained control with the breakaway pulled back to around five minutes heading into the second half of the day before a dramatic increase in pace saw the chase begin to heat up.
After the first ascent of the Côte de Meilh Stang Vihan, with a gradient of 12.5%, a reduced main bunch crossed the finish line to start the first of the local laps just 40 seconds behind the two remaining leaders.
Riders began to attack off the front of the peloton with Rein Taaramäe (Direct Energie) bridging across to Michiel Dieleman (Cibel-Cebon) and Corentin Ermenault (Vital Concept Cycling Club) and with 35km to go, the trio was dangling just 25 seconds up the road.
There were only 50 riders, including all of BMC Racing Team, left in the re-grouped main bunch at the start of the penultimate lap before van Garderen responded to a dangerous four-rider move.
It was then Richie Porte’s turn to try something and he was also part of a four-rider group that attempted to go clear before being caught by the chasing bunch as the bell rang to mark the start of the final lap.
Only 20 riders remained in the main bunch going past the 5km to go mark as more attacks drew a select group, including van Garderen, out at the front of the race which would eventually battle it out for the day’s honors.
In the closing stages of the day, van Garderen launched his own move but ultimately the 12-rider group came back together for a final sprint with Jonathan Hivert (Direct Energie) taking the win.
After a hard fought finish and an uphill drag race to the line, van Garderen sprinted to eighth while, the rest of his teammates finished safely behind in the main part of the peloton.
Quotes From the Finish Line
Tejay van Garderen:
“I think it shows that I still have good form. I have a good schedule up ahead. This was kind of a recon race and also a race to get some fitness, so I’m happy. I usually like the longer climbs, more of a stage race, a little bit more calm and predictable. This race was anything but. I showed I have good form and I’m never going to beat the specialists. I’m definitely glad that we got to see the stage ahead of the Tour de France. There are a lot of narrow, technical, punchy, dangerous sections, and I think having knowledge of the course is going to be critical come July. I think it’s a good stage for Greg Van Avermaet.”
“It was a good day and I think we managed to get out of it everything that we needed to. It will be a technical finish at the Tour. We looked at the stage yesterday but of course, there is no better way to see it than to race it. Today was a great opportunity for us and it should be a hard stage in July.”
“On the penultimate lap, I went in one of the moves which was good for me. In Pais Vasco, I wasn’t able to attack really so it was nice to stretch my legs and I think that move allowed the other guys to sit back and take advantage of us having a guy in the front. Tejay and some of the other guys were active on the last lap so I think it was a good race for us moving forward too.”
“It was a different style of racing today but it is always good to get a long day like today in the legs. We also had the added incentive that this will be the finish of stage 5 at the Tour so, overall I think we have had a successful two days here.”
Sports Director, Fabio Baldato:
“It was a good sign to see Tejay and Richie’s shape getting better and both riders went on the attack. We didn’t really have a specific leader today. I asked the guys to be active, to enjoy the race, and to move a lot which is what they did. At the end, Tejay was in the final. The two days here went well with a good recon yesterday and then everyone was there in front during the race today. We didn’t have riders who really had the punch to be competitive in a final like this. For us, it was important to see the last 30km of the Tour de France stage as well. It’s technical so it’s important to know the roads and where to be in position during that stage."
Tour du Finistère
One-day race: Saint-Évarzec > Quimper, 190.5km
Top 3: 1. Jonathan Hivert (Direct Energie) 2. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) 3. Guillaume Martin (Wanty - Groupe Gobert)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 8. Tejay van Garderen 19. Danilo Wyss 21. Tom Bohli