Van Garderen hot again.
Yesterday he was cold, today he is red-hot.
When we last saw BMC’s Tejay van Garderen in the Tour de Suisse, he was four kilometers from the summit, legs frozen and locked up, dropping two minutes to his GC rivals.
Not the master plan going into the Tour de France which begins in just two weeks.
Van Garderen was confused and perplexed by his inability to deal with the cold conditions since he generally responds well when the temperatures drop, rain jackets come out and riders bundle up. Until that moment, his legs felt good, he was confident and had no signs that things were about to go badly.
Ahh, but what a difference 24 hours makes. Today on the queen stage of the Tour de Suisse, at the Rettenbach Glacier above Sölden, van Garderen was on fire. A strong attack and solo victory restored his confidence in his ability to deal with cold conditions and make a serious run at Le Grand Shindig.
It was a Tour-worthy climb that pushed everyone in the peloton to the maximum. “It’s definitely up there with the hardest climbs I have ever done,” said van Garderen. ” I can’t really think of a harder one right now.”
Yesterday the 4k mark was where Van Garderen had his troubles, today he attacked at the 4.6k mark and punched it home. While beating Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) up the mountain isn’t the same as teammate Rickie Porte’s fine work against Froome and Contador in the Dauphiné, it was still a very encouraging sign.
“The feelings today were good. The feelings have been good all race except for yesterday when I had a bad moment and got really cold when I came off the Klausenpass. It’s still very regrettable that it happened because I fee like I have the form to win this race overall,” said van Garderen. “At least to come away with the stage victory is a nice consolation prize.”
Looking ahead — Suisse, not Tour — van Garderen is still hopeful that with a time trial on tap, he can climb further up the standings. ‘I definitely think I can move up a couple of places and maybe get into the top five or the podium. If I have a really good day and some of my rivals suffer a bit then the podium could be possible, said van Garderen.
Yes, the time trial is next up and van Garderen has now officially reheated.