Van Garderen: I've learned some lessons at Suisse for the Tour de France

American finishes race strongly after one bad day

Tejay van Garderen (BMC) put in another resolute performance on the final stage of the Tour de Suisse to secure 6th place in the race.

The American had dropped out of the overall contention on stage 6 when he conceded time in the snow and rain at Amden but bounced back the very next day to win at Solden and resurrect his hopes of a high GC finish.

The final stage – although shortened to just 57 kilometres due to poor weather and concerns over rider safety – still provived the GC contenders with the terrain to attack each other, but overnight leader Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) effectively nullified the race with an aggressive approach over the main climb of the day. Van Garderen was able to follow the majority of the accelerations and finished the day in fifth place, behind stage winner Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling).

"Today was a really intense and nervous day. When you have that short of a stage you never have a moment of down time. Actually I think it would be interesting if every now and then in a race they had a stage like that. You actually get to see how the breakaway is formed which is a part of racing that people don’t really get to understand. It would be cool to have this more often," van Garderen said after the stage.

Van Garderen reacted to several moves on the shortened stage but is still not at his Tour de France form. The Tour de Suisse acted as his final tune-up race before July race and despite faltering in the wintry conditions, he admitted that lessons had been learnt.

"I had confidence from how I was climbing the other days but Lopez was really strong out there. I couldn’t even hold his wheel so we had to pull him back on the descent. I was trying to play it there for the sprint but the other guys were a bit too quick. My legs were a little bit frozen. But I’m definitely happy with how the day went. 

"I showed some good days here and I learned a few things that I can take away for the Tour de France, in particular the colder days. There were a couple of little mistakes here and there but it’s better to work it out now than in July. Now it’s all about resting and staying healthy until July."

BMC Racing came away from the race with two stage wins courtesy of van Garderen and climber Darwin Atapuma.

"We have finished the Tour de Suisse well. Today Tejay was attacking, he showed that he has the morale and the legs," said the team’s director at the race, Fabio Baldato.

"We are leaving the Tour de Suisse confident. If you take out the bad day that Tejay had when he lost time, then it was a great race for him. We won two big stages, with Darwin Atapuma and the queen stage with Tejay, so it was a good week. Now we shift the focus to the Tour de France."

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