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The BMC Racing Team kept Tejay van Garderen, wearing the white Best Young Rider's jersey, out of danger. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)
The BMC Racing Team kept Tejay van Garderen, wearing the white Best Young Rider's jersey, out of danger. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)

Paris-Nice, Stage 4: Phinney Withdraws

7. March 2012

Rodez, France

Tejay van Garderen finished with the lead group Wednesday at Paris-Nice to maintain his hold on third place overall while the BMC Racing Team lost Taylor Phinney to a stomach virus.

Pivotal Stage Thursday

Van Garderen said the 178-kilometer stage looked to be an easy day, but ended up being much harder. "It was especially hectic in the final," he said. "This would have been a perfect day for the break to get up the road and win the stage, which would have allowed us GC guys a day to relax. But Rabobank missed the (three-man) break and had to ride for punishment or something." After the break was caught with 20 km to go, Gianni Meersman (Lotto-Belisol Team) won the stage. Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling) kept the overall lead, 11 seconds ahead of van Garderen, who remains the Best Young Rider. "What I'm hoping for tomorrow is that it will just be the pure climbers, not sprinters and climbers battling it out with all the jostling and nervousness," van Garderen said of Thursday's stage that includes six climbs, one at the finish of the 178.5 km.

Phinney Disappointed
Phinney, who made a key breakaway on Stage 2 with van Garderen and was as high as seventh overall at one point, said he became sick in the middle of the night. "This morning I was really drained and empty and was planning on trying to start to see how I felt," Phinney said. "But the doctor and the directors saw that I wasn't in the right state to race and decided it was better for me to take it easy and to try and recover. For me, it's disappointing. But sickness is part of life." Van Garderen, who was rooming with Phinney, said he is feeling fine. "We take precautions by bringing our own chef, but sometimes you can't always control everything," he said.