Top Ten Finish Sees Van Garderen Take Overall Lead in Spain22. March 2017, La Molina (ESP) — Road Team
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya stage 3 ended with the race’s first summit finish, with Tejay van Garderen crossing the line in eighth place to move into the leader's jersey after an explosive finale on La Molina.
The peloton kept several early moves under control, making it a fast start to the day with riders covering 42km in the first hour of racing.
Eventually almost 60km into the 188.3km stage, five riders were able to loosen the grip of the peloton and began to extend an advantage which peaked at around seven minutes on the slopes of the Alt de Toses climb.
With BMC Racing Team helping to set the pace behind, the gap to the breakaway began to fall with 60km and two climbs of La Molina remaining.
As the breakaway went over the top of the first ascent of the well-known climb, the gap had been brought to within two minutes before dipping under a minute as the reduced peloton made the right hand turn to start round two.
The pace continued to increase, and with the final breakaway rider reeled in, only a select group of General Classification contenders, including van Garderen, were left at the front of the race battling for position.
Despite multiple attacks inside the closing 5km, the group was still together with just 500m remaining before a burst of acceleration from Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) and Daniel Martin (Quick-Step Floor) saw the duo take first and second respectively.
Van Garderen pushed on behind and put in a strong effort to take eighth on the stage and move into the leader's jersey, 41 seconds ahead of BMC Racing Team teammate, Samuel Sánchez.
Rohan Dennis was forced to withdraw from racing due to illness, as detailed by BMC Racing Team doctor, Dr. Daniele Zaccaria below.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Tejay van Garderen:
"The team rode amazingly today with the breakaway taking over 60km to establish itself. We were confident heading into today's stage and, as we have good memories of La Molina, we were pretty sure we could keep the jersey. Yesterday there was a lot of commotion, and we put that behind us and got on with today's task."
"It was all up in the air until just before today's stage when we eventually got the jersey and subsequently the responsibility to control the race. This meant we had to adjust our strategy, but I think we handled this well and showed we are the stronger team."
"This is a big race. It has a lot of history and carries some weight being UCI WorldTour. We have a comfortable lead, but it's not a sure thing especially with stage 5 but the team has good morale, and we are motivated to do our best to defend this jersey."
Sports Director, Jackson Stewart:
"It was great to see Tejay van Garderen keep the jersey within the team and have a good stage today. We came here for Tejay, and he has already had a great TTT and a great first mountain stage. I think we had some pent up frustration after the stress of yesterday so, it was nice to see everyone giving everything once again and having a good stage."
"We didn't know what to expect on the summit finish today. In previous years we knew it had been a fairly big group and with the headwind on the climb today we thought that might be the case again. In the end, it was a fairly select group, and you could see that there are 15-20 guys here for the GC."
"The jersey, of course, adds some pressure but we have the team for it, and we knew this stage well. Tejay has won here before, and everyone was especially motivated to do well again."
Rohan Dennis - Medical Update
BMC Racing Team Doctor, Dr. Daniele Zaccaria:
"Rohan Dennis was managing a respiratory tract infection coming into this race, and we were monitoring his condition from when he arrived in Catalunya. We were able to manage the problem for the TTT which was a main objective for us. Now, with the colder weather in the mountains it was better for him to stop racing as we look at the bigger picture and the upcoming Giro d'Italia."
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
Stage 3: Mataró > La Molina, 188.3km
Top 3: 1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) 2. Daniel Martin (Quick-Step Floor) 3. Adam Yates (Orica-Scott)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 8. Tejay van Garderen 27. Samuel Sánchez 61. Ben Hermans