Tejay van Garderen dropped from fourth overall to 16th after Saturday's rain-slicked sixth stage at Paris-Nice. The BMC leader overcame a crash early in the stage but suffered in the cold weather and finished nearly five minutes down on stage winner and current overall leader Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal).
"It started out perfect," van Garderen said of the early running on Saturday. “Our plan was to get a couple of guys into the break and then if I was feeling good try and bridge across and have them drive it – just race aggressive to just try and gain back some time. But I had a little crash earlier on, which wasn't such a big deal. It was kind of just get up, brush myself off and keep going."
Van Garderen said his problems started on the descent off the Côte de Châteauneuf.
"I got really cold and I was just shivering," van Garderen said. "I just felt completely blocked. I tried to stay calm and tried to kind of regroup myself in hopes I would come around on the final climb. But once we started it, my legs were not really working.
"It is a huge disappointment because I came in with high hopes. I had good form. I showed that form a couple days ago. To have a day like today, it was one of those typical bad days that you hope that you don't have. Unfortunately, I had one today. All we can do is try to learn from it and move forward. I feel bad for the team because they've worked hard for me all week and we've done a perfect job."
Van Garderen crossed the line in 21st place with teammate Philippe Gilbert, 4:57 back of solo stage winner Gallopin. Van Garderen is now 16th, 4:59 behind Gallopin going into the final day's 9.7km uphill individual time trial, where van Garderen is hoping to salvage his week's effort.
"Obviously I'd like to have a good time trial,” he said. “I've trained hard and I know I have good form, so it would be a waste to not put that into a good time trial."
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