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Tejay van Garderen (right) said a bout with bronchitis is keeping him from performing 100 percent. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
Tejay van Garderen (right) said a bout with bronchitis is keeping him from performing 100 percent. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Tour de France, Stage 14: Van Garderen Sixth

19. July 2014

Tejay van Garderen of the BMC Racing Team finished sixth on Saturday's mountain-top finish at the Tour de France to remain fifth overall while gaining time on one of the top contenders.

Attacks Distance Valverde
Van Garderen's attacks in the final four kilometers of the 177-km race helped distance second-placed Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), who lost 30 seconds to van Garderen and a minute to race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team). Van Garderen finished 54 seconds after solo stage winner Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) while conceding 30 seconds to Nibali and four seconds each to third-placed Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) and fourth-placed Thibault Pinot ( "We were just trying to attack so we weren't towing guys along," van Garderen said. "It looked like Valverde kind of blew himself up a bit and it ended up being me and Pinot kind of trading pulls." Van Garderen said despite his gradual climb up the overall standings following crashes where he lost time on Stages 5 and 7, he is still not feeling 100 percent. "After the rest day I came down with a little bit of bronchitis," he said. "And the crashes – I think that kind of took away a little bit of my top end. After the rest day and into the Pyreneses, I should bounce back a bit."

Teamwork For The Chase
The first selection of the second day in the Alps was made going downhill. Off the top of the Col d'Izoard – the highest point in this year's race – the Ag2r La Mondiale squad went on the attack. "We had a bit of a hairy moment there on the descent when Ag2r and Nibali all attacked," BMC Racing Team's Peter Stetina said. "That was a pretty dangerous move. Ag2r kept it going for quite a while. We had to pull the emergency cord to get Tejay back and we tried to keep him quiet so he could use all his energy on the final climb." With the chasing efforts of Stetina, past Swiss road champion Michael Schär and Slovakian national time trial champion Peter Velits, the catch was made before the climb to the finish. "After two weeks, this was a good result, not only for Tejay but for the entire team," BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said. "Now we will look next week to the Pyrenees. It will be an important few days for the general classification."

Moinard In The Escape
Just as on Friday's stage, the BMC Racing Team placed a rider in the breakaway. Amaël Moinard was part of a group of 17 that escaped the peloton after 16 km. Sixty kilometers later, the group's advantage peaked at 5:05. But the chasing efforts of Team NetApp-Endura and Nibali's Astana team brought the gap down to 90 seconds from Moinard and 10 others who remained in the breakaway. Majka, who was part of the escape, ventured off on his own to take the stage win. Moinard, who was also part of breakaways on Stages 9 and 10, finished 43rd. Sunday's stage is a transitional one featuring no categorized climbs before the race enjoys its final rest day on Monday.

Listen to complete comments from Ledanois and van Garderen on the BMC Racing Team's 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.