Ruta del Sol Stage 4: Victory for van Garderen
20 February, Alhaurin de la Torre (ESP)
Tejay van Garderen has stormed home to win today’s Individual Time Trial on stage 4 of Ruta del Sol and claim the race lead heading into tomorrow’s final stage.
Van Garderen set a blistering time of 27’05 on the 21km course to take the win two seconds ahead of Wilco Kelderman (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) and seven seconds ahead of J?rome Coppel (IAM Cycling).
Brent Bookwalter and Samuel Sanchez put in stellar performances to finish in fourth and seventh place respectively.
Today’s win gives van Garderen confidence going into the rest of the season.
“It’s great to get the first victory of the season early. Now we can take a more relaxed approach going forward. It’s a big confidence boost but we definitely have our minds set on tomorrow. We’re going to have a tough challenge but we’re excited,” van Garderen said.
“It was a tail wind on the way out but it was a lot of climbing and it was head wind on the way back but a bit downhill so it was really hard to pace. You couldn’t go easy on the way out and you couldn’t go easy on the way back, so you just had to put your head down and go.”
“When you look at the results you can definitely tell that BMC Racing Team prepared well over the winter.”
BMC Racing Team Sports Director Valerio Piva said the team had targeted today’s ITT going into the race.
“From the beginning we came here with the ITT and the GC in mind for Tejay. We came here after Murcia and Almeria and did a recon of today’s course to put Tejay in the best position to perform well. Today was amazing not only for him, but the whole team as we had three riders in the top ten. So we are very happy,” Piva said.
Showdown Set for Stage 5
Stage 5, 164.2km from San Roque to Alto Penas Blancas, is set for a battle between the GC contenders with a showdown on the summit finish of Pe?as Blancas.
“If you look at today’s results I think that we easily have the strongest team here so that gives me a lot of confidence that I’m not going to be isolated on the climb,” van Garderen explained.
Van Garderen goes into the final stage with a two second lead over Kelderman and seven seconds in front of Coppel. Bookwalter sits in fourth and Sanchez in seventh, while Damiano Caruso maintains an eight-point lead in the King of the Mountain classification.