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Tejay van Garderen and the BMC Racing Team did their best to defend the yellow jersey on the race's penultimate stage. (©Casey B. Gibson.)
Tejay van Garderen and the BMC Racing Team did their best to defend the yellow jersey on the race's penultimate stage. (©Casey B. Gibson.)

USA Pro Challenge, Stage 6: Tejay van Garderen Slips To Third

26. August 2012

BMC Racing Team's Tejay van Garderen slipped from first to third overall Saturday at the USA Pro Challenge when he could not follow the attack of Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) on the final climb of Flagstaff Mountain.

'Didn't Want To Let Him Go'
By finishing 11th on the stage, Van Garderen conceded 29 seconds to Leipheimer, who was sitting only eight seconds behind the BMC Racing Team rider heading into the 165.5 km stage. When Leipheimer attacked in the final five kilometers, van Garderen said he tried to get on his wheel. "I tried pulling him back immediately. I didn't want to let him go," he said. "The guys who were with me were pretty much leaving it up to me to chase. Then a couple people started attacking, so I just started sitting on. I wasn't getting a lot of help out there. In the last kilometer, it was just survival." Leipheimer took the race lead with fourth place on the stage, 45 seconds back of solo winner Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team). With only a 15.3 km individual time trial to go Sunday in Denver, van Garderen is 21 seconds off the lead and nine seconds behind Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp), who held onto second with sixth on the stage.

'I Can Still Win This Race'
BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Michael Sayers said the squad did everything right to get van Garderen to the base of the final climb. "The team worked perfectly," he said. "We had a break we were satisfied with. Not just today, but every day, the team did a perfect job. We just came up a little bit short." With the current standings identical to those of the final results of last year's race, van Garderen said "it's possible" to make up time and take back the yellow jersey he wore after winning Stage 2, losing it the next day and regaining it for Stages 4 and 5. "It's going to take an incredible ride, but I think I can still win this race," he said.

Evans Withdraws
The BMC Racing Team, which tirelessly chased a 14-man breakaway for nearly the entirety of the race, was without the services of Cadel Evans for more than half of it. Last year's Tour de France champion withdrew with pain in his right knee when the race reached the feed zone at kilometer 77. "I've had the pain since the first or second day," Evans said. "Today, being hilly and so, I couldn't be of any use to the team, especially the responsibility the team had today. I didn't want to injury myself further without contributing anything to the team."