Van Garderen Tests his Legs on Summit Finish in Catalunya22. March 2018, La Molina (ESP) — Road Team
Tejay van Garderen was battling against the main General Classification contenders on Volta Ciclista a Catalunya stage 4 today as the race headed to La Molina for an explosive summit finish.
After yesterday’s stage was shortened, day four in Catalunya proved to be the biggest test of the race so far with the final climb up to La Molina setting the backdrop for a fierce battle for both the stage win and the General Classification.
The opening 40km of racing were slightly downhill and combined with a strong tailwind, it made for a very start with none of the early moves able to distance themselves from the main bunch.
The peloton was still all together as the road began to roll towards the first categorized climb of the day, the Port d’el Jou, before the race heated up with a series of stinging attacks drawing various riders out at the front of the race.
Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-SCOTT) made his solo move on the early slopes of the climb and going over the top with 73km to go he was holding onto a one-minute advantage over a four-rider chase group including Joey Rosskopf while an already reduced peloton sat another 40 seconds back.
After a short descent, the race headed onto the Coll de la Creueta, a 20.9km categoriá especial climb, and after catching Rosskopf and the rest of the chasers, the peloton split further 1’10” behind the lone leader.
The main bunch began a determined chase as they reached the summit with 33.7km to go and headed onto the descent through the finish town of La Molina before the start of the final 11.6km climb to the line, which had a gradient that reached 15% in parts.
Approaching the 25km to go mark, Chaves had been pulled back to less than 10 seconds as Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team) bridged across and passed Chaves before Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) attacked off the front of the bunch to join the Mitchelton-SCOTT rider.
Following an action-packed couple of kilometers, and as the time gaps back to the main bunch with van Garderen, Brent Bookwalter and Nicolas Roche were so small on the early slopes of the climb, there was a reshuffle at the front of the race.
A group of five riders went clear with 7km to go before Valverde, Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) and Egan Bernal (Team Sky) were drawn out at the front of the race battling for the stage win.
Behind the leading trio, van Garderen was sitting in the main chase group as attacks began to come thick and fast with small groups littered all across the road in the closing kilometers of the race.
After fighting all the way to the finish, van Garderen crossed the line just outside the top ten in 14th place, 1'05" behind the eventual winner and new race leader, Valverde.
Van Garderen now sits 14th on the General Classification, 1'30" back, heading into stage 5 tomorrow.
Miles Scotson was forced to stop racing during stage 4. An update from BMC Racing Team doctor, Dr. Daniele Zaccaria is provided below.
Quotes From the Finish Line
Tejay van Garderen:
“I feel like my form is good but with my injury, it is hard to get a full breath and the cold definitely didn’t help matters. However, I was happy to still be in the fight.”
“I think it was important to show that I am still there and I’m sure that once everything is back on track, I will be back up there with the top guys again.”
Sports Director, Valerio Piva:
“We came here knowing the situation with Tejay but he was really fighting today alongside Brent, Joey and also Nico. They were all around him during the whole stage. It was a really fast stage, the bunch was going full gas all day. We had three riders at the beginning of the last climb and Tejay was there moving with the favorites. Okay, he was not able to follow the final move but he finished inside the top 15 and I think that is the maximum that we could have done here. I am happy for him though as it is not easy to compete at this level when you are not 100%.”
“To be able to fight like he did today is a good sign and I think if things were different coming into the race he could have been challenging for the victory once again. We are positive as we look ahead.”
BMC Racing Team doctor, Dr. Daniele Zaccaria on Miles Scotson:
“Miles wasn't feeling 100% coming into this race. The tough stage and the cold temperatures meant that he was on the limit from the start of the day so we decided that it was better for him to stop racing.”
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
Stage 4: Llanars (Vall de Camprodon) > La Molina, 170.8km
Top 3: 1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) 2. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) 3. Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 14. Tejay van Garderen 51. Brent Bookwalter 67. Joey Rosskopf