Van Garderen crashes during Tour of Romandie prologue

American down more than three minutes in the overall classification

BMC Racing’s Tejay van Garderen crashed almost immediately after the start of his prologue at the Tour of Romandie on Tuesday in Ascona, Switzerland. The American has suffered from superficial abrasions and a contusion to his right hip; however, he plans on continuing the six-day stage race.

"Obviously, GC (general classification) is not an option any more," said van Garderen, who went into the WorldTour race as the team’s go-to overall contender. "But we still have some good guys here who are motivated for the GC. So maybe if the legs come around, I can try something in one of the harder stages."

The American crashed in the first corner of the prologue and finished the time trial more than three minutes behind stage winner Michal Kwiatkowski from Omega Pharma-QuickStep. 

"The bike got away from me in the first corner," he said. "I was coming in a little too hot. I didn't think I was taking big risks, but I guess the corner was a little off-camber and I washed out."

Kwiatkowski won the 5.57km race in six minutes and 23 seconds, beating runner-up Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) and third placed Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) by four seconds. Van Garderen finished 3:21 minutes behind, and in last place.

BMC Racing’s team doctor, Max Testa, noted that van Garderen had a lot of superficial abrasions to his ankle, hip, shoulder and elbow but the primary concern was the contusion to his right hip. "Now we are checking and making sure there is nothing broken," Testa said.

Van Garderen is preparing to be BMC Racing’s team leader at the Tour de France, which starts on July 5 in Yorkshire. Prior to the Tour of Romandie, he placed second and the Tour of Oman and third at the Volta a Catalunya.

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