Van Garderen Wins Queen Stage of Catalan Tour
Tejay van Garderen (BMC) outfought fog, rain, snow, and the competition to win Stage 4 of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. The American attacked the lead group in the last 500 m and outsprinted Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) to win the mountainous, 166.4-km ride from Alp to Vallter 2000/Setcases in 4:49:30. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo Bank) took the sprint for third at 0:03. Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) remains the race leader. If you are located in the USA you can watch video highlights from the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya in our videos section.
An early break that included Thomas De Gendt (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Stef Clement (Belkin), Maxime Mederel (Europcar), and Ruben Plaza (Movistar) stayed away until the foot of the Special Category climb to the finish. Sky led the field onto the climb, but Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano) attacked with six km left. The Frenchman lost momentum with two km to go, and Chris Froome (Sky) countered.
Contador countered Froome’s move and dropped the Briton. Van Garderen then put his cards on the table, and Bardet joined the BMC man. The Frenchman led the American into the stage’s last turn, and then van Garderen shot past Bardet to win.
Van Garderen attributed his victory to his ability to the GC leaders monitoring each other as well as his ability to cope with the cold. "I let the other guys do a couple little attacks first so they could kind of wear each other out," the American said.
"I think I got a little lucky, and I think the cold might have helped me a little bit. I think I can cope with it a bit better than some of those guys who are 60 kilos. This is my first World Tour victory and to be up there against all the names like Contador, Froome and Purito [Joaquin Rodriguez] – Grand Tour winners – is a huge honor."
In the overall, Rodriguez leads Contador by 0:04 and van Garderen by 0:07. Stage 5 will be a rolling, 218.2-km ride from Llanars/Vall de Camprodon to Valls that will have one categorized climb, a Category 2 ascent that will summit eight km from the finish line. The climb could provide an opportunity for the GC contenders to steal seconds from each other. Will they? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
If you are located in the USA you can watch video highlights from the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya in our videos section.