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Tejay van Garderen (leading) tried – but could not distance – two of the riders ahead of him in the overall standings. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
Tejay van Garderen (leading) tried – but could not distance – two of the riders ahead of him in the overall standings. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Tour de France, Stage 17: Van Garderen Stays Sixth

23. July 2014

Tejay van Garderen of the BMC Racing Team held onto his sixth place overall Wednesday after a summit finish to the shortest stage of this year's Tour de France.

Only Looking Forward
Van Garderen finished 13th in the 124.5-kilometer race, 1:40 behind king of the mountains classification leader Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), who soloed to win his second stage. With one day in the Pyrenees and four more of the race to go, van Garderen is 10:19 back from yellow jersey wearer Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team), who finished third on the day. "Yesterday was a pity, it was an off day," van Garderen said. "You can't change that. You can only look ahead." Asked if a podium finish is still a possibility, he said: "Anything is possible. If you would have asked me a couple days ago I would have said, it is really possible. Now, yes it is possible. But it will be hard." Van Garderen is 2:45 behind fifth-placed Romain Bardet and 4:11 back of Bardet's Ag2r La Mondiale teammate, Jean-Christophe Péraud, and 4:19 behind third-placed Thibault Pinot (FDJ.fr.).

Two In The Breakaway
The BMC Racing Team placed two riders – Amaël Moinard and Peter Velits – in a 21-man move ahead of the peloton that eventually splinted on the third of four climbs on the day. Moinard, who has been in breakaways on Stages 9, 10 and 14 said having a teammate or two ahead of van Garderen was part of the plan. "There was a chance I could help Tejay on the top of the climb," Moinard said. "First, to help him pull back on guys like Bauke Mollema, who was a threat on the GC (general classification). And also to maybe make time against Alejandro Valverde (second in the overall standings). But unfortunately, Valverde came back at the top. But it is good for Tejay's morale for the last few days." Moinard went on to finish 20th, while Velits was 27th.

Hard Day Still Ahead
After Nibali surged away from him in the last seven kilometers, van Garderen said he still felt good enough to test himself against two of the three French riders ahead of him in the overall – Bardet and Pinot – who were with him. "I tried doing a little attack today but they are looking really strong," van Garderen said. "Obviously, if one of them has a bad day, I need to take advantage of it." BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said he was pleased to see van Garderen bounce back from a performance Tuesday that saw him concede more than three minutes to the top contenders. "After one hard day for him yesterday, today I think he was good," Ledanois said. "I have confidence in him for tomorrow. It is another hard day with the Tourmalet and the Hautacam."

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.