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"My thoughts were, if I could get away clean up to Henao, that Froome would maybe be kind of flicked because he wouldn't be able to chase down his teammate. He would be stuck there tactically. But he was able to jump straight away...

Photo: BMC Racing Team (Continuum Sports, LLC)

PETER VELITS

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TEJAY VAN GARDEREN

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TOUR OF OMAN

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22.02.2014 @ 19:52 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tejay van Garderen (BMC) proved that he has done his homework over the winter when he finished 2nd behind Chris Froome (Sky) on the Green Mountain in the Tour of Oman. Having been surprised by an unusual aggressive tactic from Sky, he tried to use his head to beat the seemingly invincible Tour champion.

 

Tejay van Garderen of the BMC Racing Team climbed his way into second overall Saturday at the Tour of Oman with a runner-up performance to Chris Froome (Team Sky) on the finish at Green Mountain. Van Garderen said he remained patient after an attack by Froome's teammate, Sergio Henao, with 2.5 kilometers to go, and another by Robert Gesink (Belkin Pro Cycling), in an unsuccessful attempt to close the gap.

 

"Everyone looked pretty tired, so I countered Gesink," van Garderen said. "My thoughts were, if I could get away clean up to Henao, that Froome would maybe be kind of flicked because he wouldn't be able to chase down his teammate. He would be stuck there tactically. But he was able to jump straight away onto my wheel. So it was me, Froome and Rigoberto Uran closing down on Henao."

 

When van Garderen pulled even with Henao, Froome countered.

 

"That was the last we saw of him," van Garderen said of last year's Tour de France winner. "I just made a tempo up to the top. I didn't even try to follow. I thought if I tried to follow, I might blow up.

 

"I tried to stay with my tempo and it looks like I held him pretty evenly. He was probably pulling away a bit but all in all, for the first race of the year, it's gone okay."

 

Froome finished 22 seconds ahead of van Garderen to take the overall lead. Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) was third, 33 seconds back. With one day of the race to go, van Garderen is 26 seconds behind Froome; Uran is third, at 31 seconds.

 

"I'm definitely happy with where I'm at," he said. "I've put in a good winter of training. I'm coming off a fair bit of jet leg and it's my first race of the year, while some of these other guys have done two stage races. I was playing it kind of safe and not getting ahead of myself but I'm happy to be the runner-up behind Froome. It shows I did my homework in the winter.

 

"The form is obviously there. It was definitely good to confirm that and get some confidence. I've definitely still got a lot of work to do but it's a good starting point.”

In Prime Position
The BMC Racing Team went to work late in the 147.5-km race to make sure van Garderen was in prime position at the beginning of the 5.7-km climb of Green Mountain, which averages 10.5 percent.

 

"The whole team was in a really good position at the front of the bunch and they did a very good job to bring the climbers into the climb in the first positions," said BMC Racing Team's Peter Velits, winner of this race in 2012.

 

Sport Director Valerio Piva said van Garderen's result bodes well for the start of his season.

 

"In the morning, we didn't know Tejay's condition," Piva said. "But he surprised me today in a very positive way. Arriving second behind Froome is a good start. If you look at the guys who are here, they are also the contenders for the Tour de France and leaders of the big teams. So I'm very happy for Tejay and the team being around him."

 

You can read our preview of the race here.

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