Twelve months ago Tejay van Garderen stood up in front of his teammates on the BMC bus at the Critérium du Dauphiné and revealed that the reason for his poor showing on the Col du Béal was due to a fractured hip sustained earlier in the season.
Today, almost a year to the day from that disappointing stage, van Garderen proudly walked back onto the BMC bus, clad in yellow after a resolute performance on stage 5 of the race from Digne-les-Bains to the summit of Pra Loup.
The American finished second, 36 seconds down on stage winner Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale), but thanks to BMC's victory in the team time trial on stage 3, he now finds himself 17 seconds clear of Beñat Intxausti (Movistar) on GC with Bardet third, a further three seconds in arrears.
"The biggest difference between this year and last year is that last year I was dealing with a broken bone from Romandie," van Garderen told the press.
This season the 26-year-old has enjoyed a calmer build up to the Tour de France, where he was fifth last year. This time around, he is holding out for a podium place, a lofty but not impossible mission given his pedigree in three-week races.
"I would like to shoot for the podium at the Tour. That goal hasn't really changed, before today or after today. That's my aim."
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That aim certainly moved a step closer today when van Garderen watched as Chris Froome (Team Sky) opened a small gap on the final climb to Pra Loup before the american reeled in the former Tour de France winner with an assured and measured chase inside the final two kilometres.
Froome, who finished third behind van Garderen, cracked slightly towards the summit of the climb and lost four seconds to his American rival and now sits fifth on GC at 41 seconds. In terms of van Garderen's gradual progression as a Grand Tour rider, his performance today was certainly a move in the right direction.
"I think I'm getting better step-by-step but I don't think I have made any huge leaps and hopefully I can just keep making those small progressions upwards.
"When Chris Froome attacked I tried to go with him but it was a very strong attack so I didn't want to go too much over the limit so I had to stay in my own rhythm and I was just keeping him within a close distance and then when we got within the last kilometre I saw that I was closing in on him so I had to, I tried to ease up a little bit so I could come past him with some speed. I wasn't expecting it, you know usually when a guy like Chris Froome goes you don't see him anymore, so I was very happy to be able to play at that level."