Van Garderen Limits Time Loss after Crash on Vuelta a España Stage 624. August 2017, Sagunt (ESP) — Road Team
An action-packed stage 6 of the Vuelta a España saw Tejay van Garderen crash on the early descent of the Puerto del Garbí before putting everything he had into chasing back and eventually cross the line just 20 seconds behind the General Classification group.
The lumpy stage featured five categorized climbs and with the potential for a breakaway to go to the finish, the first hour of racing saw attack after attack before 34 riders, including Damiano Caruso, went clear.
The large group had more than one minute’s advantage on the descent of Alto de Alcudio de Veo and on the summit of the Puerto de Eslida, Caruso dropped back to the bunch.
Up ahead the 29 remaining riders extended the gap and race leader Chris Froome’s Team Sky controlled the race and kept the breakaway within 2’30” for the next 100km of racing.
Van Garderen and Nicolas Roche had been protected by their teammates and positioned well for the attacks that came from the General Classification group at the start of the Puerto del Garbí ascent, and demonstrated their strength by responding quickly.
In the final 3km of the climb, more attacks established a select group of six riders, including van Garderen, who showed he had the legs to defend his position on the General Classification.
As the six riders tried to extend their advantage over a larger chase group, featuring Roche, van Garderen crashed hard into the side of the road on the descent but fortunately, was able to get up quickly and resume the chase.
Up ahead, Roche’s chase group caught Froome’s group with 24km to go and the chase to catch the remaining three riders ahead resumed.
Despite a wheel change and a minor crash in the last 5km, van Garderen stayed calm and continued to gain seconds on the run into the finish to eventually finish just 20 seconds behind Roche and Froome.
By finishing with the majority of the General Classification contenders 26 seconds behind winner Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal), Roche moved into third overall, while van Garderen’s impressive efforts to limit time loss saw him drop just two places to fourth overall, 30 seconds behind Froome.
Daniel Oss was also caught in a crash on stage 6 but fortunately escaped unscathed. A medical update on van Garderen and Oss will be provided if necessary.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Tejay van Garderen:
“I felt great. Obviously the pace was really hard so I was on the limit but when I looked back and saw the selection being made and that I was part of it, I thought it was a good way to cement my spot on GC. It was a bumpy road. I must have just hit something and my hands slipped off the bars. It all happened kind of fast. I’d have to watch the video to see how it happened but I don’t want to watch the video so it will kind of be a mystery with how it happened.”
“I knew the car was going to be back so I had to get on the bike I was on but it was damaged so I had to get a bike change. Once I got the bike change and we were off the descent I was like “now it’s time to go into damage control”. When you really think about it, over three weeks nothing goes perfect. It’s more about how you deal with the not perfect days and how you take advantage of the good days. So, I think I’ve shown that I’m in good form. The injuries are pretty minor, the legs are good, the morale is good, so we’ll move forward and try to take advantage of any opportunity we get.”
“It was a tough day in the saddle. This morning we knew it was going to be a hard day, one for the breakaway and then two, that climb was really made for a whole lot more fireworks from behind. As expected, there were two races in one; the breakaway and then us in the back. I hung in there as much as I could and was in that chase group that came back before the finish. I was staying in the middle of the group just hoping that Tejay van Garderen might come back or at least not making him at more of a disadvantage, so just rode to the line.”
“It’s good to be up there after a week but I also know that the Vuelta is long. In 2015, I was also sitting in third after 10 days and had a bad crash and everything blew away. So, I just know that every Grand Tour is full of traps and you have to always be focused for the whole three weeks. Anything can happen from hunger flats to crashes so you just have to take it day by day.”
Yvon Ledanois, Sports Director:
“It was bad luck for us today, because Tejay van Garderen was in the group with Contador. He had good legs but then crashed with Betancur, and you can lose everything with a crash like that. We were behind, we changed his bike, and took it group by group, and we nearly caught Froome. So after the two crashes, he didn’t have any luck today, but I hope it's good for the next days. The Vuelta a España is not finished. Three weeks with Tejay’s level, I think there'll be a lot of surprises every day. There are hard stages with 35 degree heat. We'll look ahead now but the Vuelta is far from over.”
Vuelta a España
Stage 6 Vila-Real > Sagunt (204.4km)
Top 3: 1. Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal), 2. Pawel Poljanski (BORA – hansroghe), 3. Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 12. Nicolas Roche, 44. Tejay van Garderen, 78. Rohan Dennis.
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