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Greg Van Avermaet (in red) sprinted to his 14th top-five placing of the season. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)
Greg Van Avermaet (in red) sprinted to his 14th top-five placing of the season. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)

USA Pro Challenge, Stage 6: Van Avermaet Third; BMC Racing Team Stays 1-2 Overall

25. August 2013

BMC Racing Team's Greg Van Avermaet finished third Saturday while teammates Tejay van Garderen and Mathias Frank remained 1-2 in the overall standings, respectively, after a fast, final day in the mountains at the USA Pro Challenge.

First Goal To Keep Leaders Safe
Van Avermaet registered his third top-five placing of the race to go along with a runner-up finish on Stage 1 and fourth on Stage 3. Both stages were won by Saturday's stage winner, Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling), who out-sprinted Luka Mezgec (Team Argos-Shimano) and Van Avermaet at the end of the 185.4-kilometer race. "I started my sprint at 200 meters to go," Van Avermaet said. "Sagan is a bit stronger and came over me. It's another good try, I think, and it's nice for me to be up there in the sprints. Plus, it has given me good motivation for the next races." Van Avermaet said his first priority was helping keep the team's general classification leaders safe and he said he did a fair share of work to help bring back a 15-man breakaway. "I tried to bring Tejay in a good and safe position to the finish," he said. "I think we did a really good job with the team. That was our first goal. Tejay is still in yellow without losing time." The overall standings remained unchanged, with van Garderen leading Frank by 1:30 and Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) by 1:42 with only Sunday's 116.5-kilometer circuit race through the streets of Denver to go.

Cummings Forced To Withdraw
Van Garderen said an average speed of 46 kilometers an hour made for a tough day. "The attacks were just going non-stop," he said. "For a lot of teams, this was kind of their last chance to try something. That made for a hard, fast race." Despite the high speed, van Garderen said he never felt under pressure as he rode into the city where he attended his senior year of high school. "I definitely had a lot of fan support out there on the road," he said. "My old high school, Rocky Mountain, seemed like (it had) every single student out there on the dam today. I also knew every inch of the road we were on. It was an incredible feeling." While the BMC Racing Team continues to lead the team classification, it lost the services of Steve Cummings midway through the race when he begin having trouble breathing. "I just couldn't breath and my heart rate went super high and that was it," he said. "It's frustrating really, I couldn't even stay in the bunch." In Friday's uphill time trial, Cummings finished fourth, two seconds behind third place. "It's frustrating, really," he said. "You want to do your job."

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