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"I am absolutely happy with my fifth place. I have done four Tour de Frances and one Vuelta a España and this was by far the hardest course due to the terrain and the weather - by far."

Photo: Sirotti

PETER STETINA

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NEWS

TEJAY VAN GARDEREN

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

TOUR DE FRANCE

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
27.07.2014 @ 21:49 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

For the second time in his short career, Tejay van Garderen finished fifth in the Tour de France when he completed today's final stage safely on the wheel of key rival Romain Bardet. Pleased with his journey, the American describes the race as the hardest grand tour he has done.

 

BMC Racing Team's Tejay van Garderen finished fifth at the Tour de France for the second time in three years Sunday as the 101st edition of the race concluded in Paris. After 3,663.5 kilometers of racing, van Garderen finished 11:24 behind Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team), who won the 21-stage race for the first time.

 

Van Garderen endured nearly half-a-dozen crashes in the opening week, a bout with bronchitis in the second and clambered back after conceding four minutes on a mountain stage after the race's second rest day.

 

"We fought through so much and there were a lot of ups and downs," the American said. "We never gave up – and there were so many opportunities when it could have been really easy to give up. But my result is secondary to the journey we took these last three weeks. I am so happy for my guys and really proud of what we did."

 

The 2012 Tour de France best young rider – and fifth-place finisher that year – used a sixth-place result in Saturday's individual time trial to climb from sixth to fifth overall. Nibali won four stages on the way to a 7:37 margin over runner-up Jean-Christophe Péraud (Ag2r La Mondiale) and 8:15 over third-placed Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr).

 

"I am absolutely happy with my fifth place," van Garderen said. "I have done four Tour de Frances and one Vuelta a España and this was by far the hardest course due to the terrain and the weather – by far."


Marcel Kittel (Team Giant-Shimano) won the final stage on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées ahead of Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) and Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) to take his fourth stage win.

 

Van Avermaet came closest to winning a stage for the BMC Racing Team, scoring a runner-up finish to Nibali on Stage 2 in Sheffield. Van Avermaet was third on Stage 9 – one of his five top 10 finishes – while Oss was also in the top 10 five times.

 

BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said the race was marked by its non-traditional start in Great Britain, bouts with bad weather and unusual terrain that included cobblestone sections on Stage 5.

 

"For us, it was an up-and-down and experience," Ochowicz said. "But in the end, we got a fifth-place in the general classification with Tejay and a great learning curve for him as a current leader and a future leader of this team. So we got a lot of benefit out of this race, more so than we have seen in the last several years. We are leaving here with a lot of confidence and really looking forward to starting planning for next year." 

Eight of the BMC Racing Team's nine riders completed the race: Marcus Burghardt, Amaël Moinard, Oss, Michael Schär, Peter Stetina, Van Avermaet, van Garderen and Slovakian national time trial champion Peter Velits. Darwin Atapuma, who joined Stetina as one of the team's two first-time Tour starters –  was lost to a broken left leg in a crash on Stage 7.

 

Stetina said his first experience with the Tour de France will go down as a highlight of a career that also already includes three appearances in the Giro d'Italia, including once on the winning team.

 

"The players are the same, the wattages are the same, but the stress of it being the biggest race in the world means everyone has brought their "A" game," Stetina said. "There is constant fighting and there is never a let up because there are so many eyes all over the world on this race. So everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame."

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