Stage 5 of the Volta a Catalunya didn't go to plan for Tejay van Garderen and BMC with the American losing his overall lead and dropping to sixth place on the general classification. Alejandro Valverde and Movistar, thorns in BMC's side this week, took the win and now leads the American by 1:18 minute.
On the road to the Tortosa summit, Trek-Segafredo and Movistar cranked up the pace to cause a selection and crack van Garderen. Samuel Sánchez stuck with van Garderen, taking his teammate to the line 1:53 minutes down on Valverde.
While van Garderen was hoping for more on the queen stage, he explained there were several important takeaways ahead of his Giro d'Italia objective.
"I felt really good and confident going into the final climb but the pace and the gradient weren't treating me very well, and I couldn't hold their wheel in the end. I'm obviously a little disappointed but there is still a long way to until my main goal of the year, and I feel like I am constantly making forward progress," van Garderen said. "To win here would have been a good confidence boost but I don't think it's time to panic. I definitely know what I need to work on during this next phase of training and I am ready to put in what's needed to hopefully reach the end goal."
"The race is certainly not over. Tomorrow is going to be a brutally hard stage, so it is not a time to sit up. We can now regroup as a team and see what we can do and look for other opportunities over the next two days."
Having already lost Rohan Dennis to a chest infection, BMC lost Ben Hermans to illness on the morning of stage 5 to ensure it would be a tough day in the saddle. However, sports director Jackson Stewart was confident the team could hold onto the leader's jersey but will now re-set with two days to come.
"We held the lead by around 45 seconds going into this morning's stage, so we had a healthy gap over a lot of the contenders, and we thought we could defend the jersey today, but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be. The team did a great job getting the guys into a good position for the final climb, and Tejay van Garderen was going well but then the attack went with around 3km to go, and we just couldn't match that pace," Stewart said.
"The General Classification is probably over for us, but we will regroup as a team and see what other opportunities arise for the guys over the next two stages."
Stage 6 of the race takes the peloton from Tortosa to Reus over 189.7km before the final day 132km Barcelona circuit race.
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