Van Garderen Time Trials to Victory in Stage 6 of Tour of California
In Friday’s stage 6 of the 2013 Tour of California, Team BMC Racing’s Tejay van Garderen proved successful in the individual time trial, which took place in San Jose. The Boulder, Colorado resident conquered the most challenging individual time trial course in the race’s eight year history to expand his overall race lead before tomorrow’s summit finish.
Van Garderen’s determined ride in the leader jersey bested five national time trial champions of their respective countries to take the time trial victory in a time of 00:48:52, which increased his overall race lead to 01:47 over 2010 Amgen Tour of California champion Michael Rogers of Team Saxo-Tinkoff, with just two stages left of this year’s race.
The 19.6-mile (31.54 kilometer) time trial course in Silicon Valley offered varied and demanding terrain punctuated by peaks and valleys, including a steep 1.8-mile climb at the end of the route, which gained 1,001-feet of elevation. The difficult climb featured several sections of more than a 10 percent grade.
The steep finish offered riders and team managers with an equipment conundrum, having to decide whether to continue the climb on a time trial bike, or take the time to switch to a road bike that could make up precious seconds uphill. Van Garderen, who held onto a definitive lead throughout the entire TT course, chose to ride to the finish on his time trial bike, which likely aided in him becoming the only rider to post a time below 49 minutes.
“I knew I could produce power on my time trial bike, so I just put that out of the equation. I didn’t reconsider my decision. It was a very interesting route the Amgen Tour of California chose. Very dynamic – had a little bit of everything,” van Garderen explained.
“There were never very many moments in the race to recover. You started on a big climb, then up another climb, and the only time to recover was a technical descent, but you’re holding your breath trying not to crash. The long straight headwind section was harder than the climb itself.”
Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team’s Dutch national time trial champion Lieuwe Westra, who wore the yellow jersey after stage 1, finished in second place 23 seconds behind van Garderen with a time of 49:15, with Team Garmin-Sharp’s Australian Rohan Dennis in a close third-place finish another five seconds back (49:20).
Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s three-time world time trial champion Michael Rogers placed fourth today (+1.05) to bring him to (+1:47) off the lead in the overall contest heading into a brutal day of climbing on Saturday before the race finale Sunday. Rogers’ performance today won him the Most Courageous Rider Jersey.
“Sure, we will make a go at it tomorrow and see if I can pick up time but we have to be realistic; Tejay is in the shape of his life,” Rogers commented after the stage and added “I feel I had a pretty good ride today and he finished more than a minute ahead of me.”
Noticeably absent from the board was five-time U.S. national time trial champion David Zabriskie of Team Garmin-Sharp, who sustained a broken clavicle during reconnaissance Friday morning and did not start in today’s stage. Zabriskie is also four-times runner up in the Amgen Tour of California.
Friday’s time trial stage resulted in no other jersey changes. Team Cannondale Pro Cycling’s Peter Sagan will start tomorrow’s stage in the Visit California Sprint Jersey; BISSELL Pro Cycling’s Carter Jones (Boulder, Colorado) continues to hold onto the King of the Mountain Jersey, which he’s worn since after the first stage; and Bontrager Cycling Team’s 21-year-old Lawson Craddock keeps the Best Young Rider Jersey, which he claimed in Stage 2.
Watch video highlights from the 2013 Amgen Tour of California in our videos section (USA access only)
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