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BMC Racing Team's Greg Van Avermaet (second from right) and teammate Tejay van Garderen (left) climbed their way into the top 10. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
BMC Racing Team's Greg Van Avermaet (second from right) and teammate Tejay van Garderen (left) climbed their way into the top 10. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Tour de France, Stage 2: Van Avermaet Runner-Up

6. July 2014

Greg Van Avermaet was runner-up and teammate Tejay van Garderen finished ninth Sunday at the Tour de France as the BMC Racing Team pair also moved into the top 10 in the overall standings.

Matched Season-Best Result
Italian national road champion Vincenzo Nibali attacked out of a small group with two kilometers to go and soloed to a two-second victory and the race lead. Van Avermaet matched his best result of the season by edging third-placed Michal Kwiatowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). "This was a stage that really fit me," Van Avermaet said. "It was a big goal for me and it is too bad I was second. I was feeling real good on the climbs. In the end, it was a bit tactical with the attacks. But I did a good race and I did a good sprint. It would have been a great day if I could have won and taken yellow. But it is like it is, and maybe there will be another chance to come. We will see."

Followed Froome's Attack
Van Garderen was also part of the 21 riders who separated themselves on the last of nine categorized climbs in the 201 km race. When defending champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) attacked near the top of Jenkin Road, van Garderen was quick to respond. "It was attrition all day – it was hard," the past Tour de France "best young rider" said. "I am just happy to make it through with all my skin and in the same time. I had reconned the day, so I knew it was going to be hard. I feel like I am going to get better every day and today I felt really good. So I can only go up from here as along as I stay safe."

'Good Morale For Us'
In the overall standings, Van Avermaet stands third behind Nibali and Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) while van Garderen is ninth and among 20 riders who are two seconds off the lead. BMC Racing Team Sport Director Max Sciandri, who performed reconnaissance of the stage after the Critérium du Dauphiné, said he knew it could a pivotal one. "This is good morale for us – good morale for Greg and Tejay," he said. "Tejay is looking for little confirmations and he was up there when Froome went. Greg hesitated the first time when Nibali went. That could have been a good one, but he still managed to finish second. So we are looking good."

Burghardt In The Escape
Earlier in the stage on the western outskirts of Sheffield, BMC Racing Team's Marcus Burghardt was part of a group chasing what remained of an original seven-man breakaway. After being joined by riders including world time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and past French road champion Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar), Sagan's Cannondale squad eventually put an end to the escape. Sciandri said adverse weather conditions could have made a hard race even more challenging. "Either it was going to be really hard after Holme Moss (a Category 2 climb 57 km from the finish) or hard on the last climb," he said. "And on the last climb everybody went hard and the race was on."

Listen to complete comments from Sciandri, Van Avermaet (in English, Dutch and French) and van Garderen on the BMC Racing Team's special Tour de France Audio Line.

View photos from the race in the BMC Racing Team's Flickr gallery.

Watch behind-the-scenes videos on the BMC Racing Team's YouTube channel.