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Tejay van Garderen held onto his lead on a cold, wet day in the Colorado Rockies. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
Tejay van Garderen held onto his lead on a cold, wet day in the Colorado Rockies. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

USA Pro Challenge, Stage 5: Van Garderen Ninth

23. August 2014

BMC Racing Team's Tejay van Garderen finished ninth and held onto the overall lead Friday at the USA Pro Challenge, but teammate Ben Hermans struggled in the rain and cold and slipped from third to ninth in the overall standings.

Time Trial Saturday
Luxembourg national time trial champion Laurent Didier (Trek Factory Racing) won the 168-klilometer stage ahead of Javier Acevedo (Garmin-Sharp) and Rob Britton (Team Smartstop) as survivors of an original 12-man breakaway. Van Garderen finished in a group of five 93 seconds later, gaining time on five of the seven riders immediately behind him in the overall standings. Heading into Saturday's individual time trial in Vail, van Garderen leads Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) by 20 seconds, Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis) by 37, Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) by 39 and Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing) by 51. No other riders are within a minute of the defending champion, who last year set the record on the 16.1-km course that steadily rises up in the last five kilometers. "I feel good, I feel confident," van Garderen said. "Rafal Majka is still kind of the question mark. He is obviously riding really well, so I am glad I have 20 seconds on him. As long as I keep my wits about me, I will be OK."

Cold Affected Hermans
Van Garderen said he was content to see the breakaway stay ahead on a day when the race reached its highest point – Hoosier Pass at 3,517 meters – and wind and rain battered the peloton for hours. "It took a really long time for the break to get going, and with the cold temperatures, we didn't want to get greedy and go for the stage and bring the guys back," van Garderen said. "We just wanted to conserve our guys as much as possible and keep the break in check, making sure it didn't get too much time." One casualty of the adverse conditions was Hermans, who had dropped back to get dry clothing on a climb when the peloton accelerated. "He was just trying to get warm because it was a ridiculous stage – the weather was just nuts," Sport Director Jackson Stewart said. "He just never got contact back and our other guys could not wait for him because they were watching over Tejay. It was really unfortunate." Hermans, who finished 25th, 76 seconds behind van Garderen's group, said it was disappointing the weather was the decisive factor. "But that's racing, that's cycling," he said. "Sometimes I am at an advantage when it is hot weather and I really like it hot. Today it was cold, so the others were at an advantage."

Listen to complete comments from Hermans, Stewart and van Garderen (press conference and podium ceremony) on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.

See photos of the race on the BMC Racing Team's Flickr gallery.

Watch videos from the race on BMC Racing Team's YouTube channel.