Vuelta a España Stage 20: van Garderen Secures Top Ten Position9. September 2017, Alto de L’Angliru (ESP) — Road Team
The penultimate day of the Vuelta a España delivered a brutal test with three steep climbs packed into the 117.5km stage, including the mythical L’Angliru summit finish, and saw Tejay van Garderen get back into the top ten overall.
The road began to rise immediately from kilometer 0 and with a face pace was set from the get go, the first attacks were neutralized.
Eventually, an 18-rider breakaway, featuring Nicolas Roche, was able to go clear but Trek-Segafredo controlled the situation and barely allowed the group to go more than one-minute clear.
The attacks from the breakaway started on the first categorized climb of the day, the category 1 Alto de la Cobertoria, which saw Roche distanced and in the chase group as the leading group reached the summit with a 1’20” advantage over the reduced peloton.
The drastically reduced group of favorites, including van Garderen, caught Roche on the early slopes of the Alto del Cordal with 24km remaining.
With just the iconic L’Angliru climb to come, Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) attacked from the group on the descent and opened a gap with 12km to go.
Contador caught the remaining breakaway riders and forged on in pursuit of Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal) who led the race solo.
10km before the finish line, van Garderen was still in the group of favorites that had halved again by this stage but eventually lost the wheel with 8km to go.
With 5km remaining, Contador dropped Marc Soler (Movistar Team) and began a solo pursuit for the stage win.
Contador held on to take the solo win ahead of race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) and van Garderen crossed the line in 14th place which was enough to move into tenth place overall.
After 20 tough stages, the Vuelta a España is set to wrap up in Madrid on Sunday evening with the traditional circuit stage.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Tejay van Garderen:
“It was a death march for 117km with the rain and three hard climbs and after 20 hard stages, it was brutal. I’m quite happy [to be 10th overall]. It’s a bit bittersweet with that crash that I had on stage 6 where I really hurt my ribs and then I had another crash on stage 11. I definitely think something is broken so, I had to fight hard through that. I felt like a different rider from the first half of the race to the second half. I think you can draw a straight line through that second crash which really affected me. I’m happy I was able to fight through it but it’s still a question of ‘what if?’.
Vuelta a España
Stage 20 Corvera de Asturias > Alto de L’Angliru (117.5km)
Top 3: 1. Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), 2. Wout Poels (Team Sky), 3. Chris Froome (Team Sky).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 14. Tejay van Garderen, 27. Nicolas Roche, 49. Francisco Ventoso
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.