Van Garderen toasts rivals in California.

 

Van Garderen on a less hot day.

Did Tejay Van Garderen (BMC)  just win the 2013 Tour of California after only two stages? Why we were just getting, uhh, warmed up, so to speak.

After the 106 degree stage one, day two went even higher into the fahrenheit and may have cooked the GC chances of everyone except Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) and the Francisco Mancebo (5 Hour Energy).

Did Mancebo waste his best shot at the podium by going too hard on stage 1? Hey, he picked up four whole seconds on Sunday but might have scored several minutes today with the same kind of acceleration and power.

Instead he faded from that elite group of six about half way up the climb. A missed opportunity and perhaps DS Frankie Andreu should have adjusted strategy the previous day to take better advantage of the heat that would turn Tram Road into a furnace.

Mancebo suffered and could barely speak once he crossed the line.”The climb was too hard for me. The rest of the day was fine, but I didn’t feel good,” said Mancebo. “I knew the climb, and I knew it would be too hard for me, but in this heat it was impossible.”

Meanwhile Michael Rogers, the overall winner in the 2010 edition — showed he has impressive form and with a strong Saxo team, is a definite candidate for the top steps. ”Tejay took some good time, it will be hard to bring back, but anything can happen, we’ll try another day,” Rogers said post-exhaustion. “It was boiling out there, definitely survival of the fittest.”

The brutal final climb — 3.6 miles long with an average grade of 9% but far worse in spots destroyed the chances of overall victory for a number of riders. The first rough GC has Rogers about 43 seconds back and Mancebo behind by 51 seconds and Dave Zabriskie (Gamin) way down the mountain and out of contention even if he rode the time trial on a motorcycle. Riders like Cannondale domestique Red King crossed the line way ahead of Dave Z.

So, we have to ask the question: race over? With only the time trial’s summit finish and the queen stage on Mt Diablo, chances of cutting that deficit look damn hard. Van Garderen finished second on the stage to Janier Alexis Acevedo but he is now firmly in the driver seat. After downplaying his chances, he actually called himself the favorite after his dominant performance. New baby, perhaps first stage race victory in six days time.

The soaring temperares shut down plenty of hopes. Even Van Garderen was stunned by the difficult weather conditions. “That was insane. By far the hottest race I’ve ever done. When Acevedo attacked, I didn’t respond. I didn’t want to go too far into the red and risk blowing,” said the BMC captain.

Plenty of guys went into the red today and many aren’t coming back out.

 

Stage
1 Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Jamis – Hagens Berman 5:07:40
2 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing 0:00:12
3 Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 0:00:27
4 Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:00:45
5 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:55
6 Chad Haga (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 0:01:13
7 Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack Leopard 0:01:15
8 Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda
9 Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team 0:01:32
10 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge

 

 
 GC
1 Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Jamis – Hagens Berman 8:39:18
2 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing 0:00:12
3 Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 0:00:27
4 Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:00:45
5 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:55
6 Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda 0:01:03
7 Chad Haga (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 0:01:13
8 Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack Leopard 0:01:15
9 Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team 0:01:32
10 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 0:01:40
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