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"I have raced this course three times now and both other times I blew up near the end. In 2011, it was really bad and last year was better, but not perfect. This time, I think I was perfect."

Photo: Sirotti






24.08.2014 @ 12:29 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tejay van Garderen proved his superiority in the USA Pro Challenge when he crushed the opposition in the Vail time trial. Having blown up on the same course twice in the past, the American was pleased to finally have timed his effort perfectly.


BMC Racing Team's Tejay van Garderen shattered his own course record in the Vail time trial Saturday to win his second stage of the USA Pro Challenge and increase his overall lead with a day of the race to go. Racing his bike through rainy, cool conditions, van Garderen clocked a time of 24:26 on the 16.1-kilometer course. That bettered – by more than half-a-minute – the 25:01 he rode to in winning the same stage a year ago.


The defending champion was 53 seconds better than runner-up Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) and 68 seconds faster than third-placed Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis).


"I was helped by a pretty stiff tailwind, but mainly it was just experience that was the difference," van Garderen said. "I have raced this course three times now and both other times I blew up near the end. In 2011, it was really bad and last year was better, but not perfect. This time, I think I was perfect.


"The first time I did [the Vail time trial] it couldn't have been worse. I went out way too hard, I misjudged the effort and lost the yellow jersey. 


"Last year, I can't say it was bad, but you could see from the split that I was 30 seconds up and then at the line I was only four seconds up. ...This year I felt powerful all the way through. I stayed cautious in the first half, and that definitely came with experience about how to judge my effort at this altitude and on this course."


Van Garderen also won the Stage 3 summit finish at Monarch Mountain Wednesday, giving him a race record-tying four career stage wins. He is also on the verge of becoming the USA Pro Challenge's first repeat winner.


"It was really a great day to see Tejay crush it and defend his lead and then extend it as much as he did," BMC Racing Team Sport Director Jackson Stewart said.

With only Sunday's Boulder-to-Denver road race to go, van Garderen leads Danielson by 1:32 and Tvetcov by 1:45.


"I don't want to say I have it in the bag, but I am pretty relaxed going into tomorrow knowing there is not really much anyone can do to take this away from me," van Garderen said.


Making Saturday all the more special, he said, was the performance of his teammates to regain the lead in the team classification. Ben Hermans finished sixth on the day while Peter Stetina was the next BMC Racing Team rider, in 23rd, to overtake Garmin-Sharp by 64 seconds.


"I told everyone this morning that we were 11 seconds down and we all needed to go out and give it a good ride," van Garderen said. "Now it is not just me up there on the podium. We all get to go up there and spray the champagne. Cycling is a team sport, but a lot of times it is just one individual who gets the glory. So getting the team GC is really special." 



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