The American Grand Tour rider climbed off early into the stage, before the showdown on the steep Mas de la Costa finish. BMC still raced aggressively, with Ben Hermans attacking on the final climb and Samuel Sánchez is seventh overall after limiting his losses on the 12 per cent gradients of the climb to the finish.
Van Garderen has endured a difficult season after showing his Grand Tour potential with fifth place overall in both 2012 and 2014. However, he failed to finish both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana in 2015. He was consistent in the first half of the 2016 season, finishing second overall in the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol and sixth in the Tour de Suisse as he prepared to ride the Tour de France alongside Richie Porte.
However, van Garderen suffered at the Tour de France, lost time in the final mountain stages and finished 29th overall. He struggled to understand why but spent time at home with his family in the USA and then return to Europe for the Vuelta a Espana, with the goal of helping Sanchez and possibly targeting stage victories. He failed to make an impact in Spain and his abandon could mark the end of his difficult season.
"The bad news is that we lost Tejay van Garderen. He was not good at the start of the stage and he was dropped," directeur sportif Valerio Piva explained after talking about BMC's race strategy for the stage and their decision to defend their lead in the team classification.
"He came to the Vuelta not with the best preparation but we hoped day by day he was better. I think it is due to fatigue and the rest day, which is every time a difficult day for him. That is racing and we need to stay concentrated on the next days for the goals that we can achieve."