The team finished second to pick up an impressive silver medal but were just three seconds down on winners Omega Pharma – Quick Step over the 53.2km course. At the foot of the final climb van Garderen and his teammates had the Belgian team in their sights, having reduced the deficit from 8 seconds to just two.
However, van Garderen, who finished in the white jersey at the Tour de France this July, moved to the front, dropping his team and causing them to slow and regroup.
“The team rode perfectly until the Cauberg and then it all came apart,” a disappointed van Garderen told Cyclingnews at the finish.
“We heard that we were two seconds down and I think I got a little excited and started putting the hammer down. The next thing I realised I was alone. It sucks that you know that you made a mistake and you finished so close. I have this burden right now that I let the team down because on the Cauberg I blew things apart.”
“I heard on the radio ‘Tejay you’re alone’ and I thought ‘oh God, this is not good’. I thought there was me Gilbert, Pinotti, Ballan, so four climbers and two seconds down, we can go. I tried to keep it somewhat steady and try and get the two seconds back but I looked back and I was alone and I though ‘shit, now we’ve lost the race’. I’m kicking myself now because we finished three seconds down, and when it’s a mistake that you made, that’s tough. If we’d stayed more organised maybe we could have pulled it back. It’s always hard at the end of a 50km time trial when you’re going full gas and you’re trying to keep it all together.”
Van Garderen will have to move past the dissapointment of missing gold with two events still on his Worlds schedule. The 24-year-old is set to ride in the men’s individual time trial on Wednesday alongside compatriot Taylor Phinney. Both riders will also race in the men’s road race four days later.
The time trial is perhaps van Garderen’s best chance of picking up another medal with two of last year’s podium – Bradley Wiggins, and Fabian Cancellara – not competing.
“I’ve stayed motivated after the Tour, the Olympics and Colorado. I’ve been training at home with Phinney and I expect a good result. It’s wide open with Wiggins and Cancellara not here. The medals are up for grabs right now.”
“On Wednesday we’ll both be going as hard as we can and trying to beat each other. At the same time, if Taylor wins the Worlds I’ll be thrilled for him and if I win he’ll be thrilled for me. It would be a dream if we could both be on the podium and take home medals.”