Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) may have cracked on the super steep Blockhaus climb on stage 9 of the Giro d'Italia but the American rider looked to the stage 10 individual time trial as an opportunity to claw back time.
Van Garderen came into the stage with his focus firmly on a GC challenge but when Movistar ramped up the pace on the final climb he was one of the first top-ten contenders to begin sliding back. Van Garderen did escape a crash that took down a number of his rivals but he finished the stage in 17th place, 3:46 down on stage winner, and new race leader, Nairo Quintana (Movistar). The time loss leaves BMC's leader in 13th place, 3:56 down on the maglia rosa as the races heads into the second rest-day.
"Movistar did an insane tempo and I was just trying to hold it and thinking that it would settle down but it was a bit over my limit and I had to back off. Luckily I was able to have Ben [ed Hermans] there help me to the line," van Garderen said at the finish.
"We had Etna but today was the first big mountain test of the Giro. Sometimes after so many flat stages there's always a question about how the legs will respond but I'm going to stay the course and give it all that I have in the TT."
After Monday's rest-day the Giro recommences with a 39.8km test between Foligno and Montefalco. Van Garderen's team director, Max Sciandri, admitted that the team would reassess the race on the rest-day but that the profile of the time trial suited van Garderen.
"Anything can happen and we stay focussed. He's a good time trialist. It's a hard time trial with two small climbs, some technical parts but the most important thing now is to reassess, recover and give it a day."