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BMC Racing Team's Greg Van Avermaet (right) was on the podium for his runner-up finish. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)
BMC Racing Team's Greg Van Avermaet (right) was on the podium for his runner-up finish. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)

USA Pro Challenge, Stage 1: Van Avermaet Runner-Up

20. agosto 2013

Greg Van Avermaet of the BMC Racing Team produced his fifth runner-up finish of the season on Monday's opening stage of the USA Pro Challenge, while teammate Tejay van Garderen finished fifth and gained time on several of the race favorites.

'Definitely A Good Start'
Van Avermaet said he received a superb lead-out from his teammates, but simply could not hold off Slovakian road champion Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling), who won the 97.6-kilometer stage. Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) was third. "I came through the last corner in second position and directly started my sprint because I didn't know where Peter was," Van Avermaet said. "In the last 150 meters, he came over me. But it was good to try it. I know Peter is a little bit stronger than me in the sprint. Second is a little bit disappointing after all of my second-place finishes in Utah, but it was good to try." Van Avermaet registered three of his five runner-up finishes at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah two weeks ago. Monday's result was his 11th top-three finish in a season that includes five wins. Van Garderen – one of only 17 riders to finish in the same time as Sagan – said he was simply looking to stay out of trouble. "It's always good to be on the good side of the splits," the winner of the Amgen Tour of California said. "It is definitely a good start. It's good for morale. I am actually surprised where some of the GC (general classification) guys are. Some of the big favorites like Andrew Talansky and Chris Froome lost like five minutes. So that's a bit surprising."

Schär 'Incredibly Strong'
Assistant Director Jackson Stewart said the BMC Racing Team reacted well when a small group escaped the peloton as it charged into Aspen on the last of three laps of a mountainous circuit. "We were lucky to have Brent Bookwalter in there because it had Sagan and George Bennett and some dangerous guys," Stewart said. With Sky Procycling chasing, five of the seven escapees were reeled in. But Carter Jones (Bissell Pro Cycling) and Bennett (RadioShack Leopard) were still away with four kilometers to go. "We had to have a lot of work from all of our guys – Julien Taramarcaz, Larry Warbasse and Mathias Frank – to pull it back because they had almost 20 seconds at one point and it was getting down to the wire," Stewart said. Swiss road champion Michael Schär significantly ramped up the speed to set the stage for the sprint. "Everybody did a good pull," Van Avermaet said. "Michi (Schär) was incredibly strong. He did the last three kilometers on his own, to the last 300 meters almost. It was good to have him." Only 47 riders remain within 44 seconds of the lead. Five from the BMC Racing Team are in the select group: Van Avermaet, van Garderen, Bookwalter, Schär and Frank.

Listen to complete comments from Stewart, Van Avermaet and van Garderen on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.