Tejay van Garderen showed his form by taking a brilliant solo win on the Queen Stage of the Tour de Suisse in another day of harsh conditions.
An early breakaway of three riders went away on the 224.3km stage, staying away until the final climb when the battle of the General Classification riders began.
After losing time on the previous mountain stage, van Garderen bounced back by attacking solo with just under five kilometers to the summit finish on the Rettenbachferner. As the General Classification group slowly broke apart behind him, van Garderen held a 20 second lead as he approached the finish line.
As he approached the finish line solo and took one last look behind him, van Garderen secured the second stage win for BMC Racing Team at this year’s Tour de Suisse, and his third stage win in 2016.
Today’s stage win has elevated van Garderen to seventh place on the General Classification, 1’31” behind new race leader Waren Barguil (Team Giant-Alpecin).
The Winner’s Interview with Tejay van Garderen
How were you feeling out there today?
“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. At least to come away with the stage victory is a nice consolation prize.”
Was it always the plan to attack when you did?
“It was a hard moment and I saw that some of the other riders didn’t look so strong and I was feeling good so I thought it was a good opportunity to attack and go for the stage victory. And that’s how it happened. They gave me a little bit of freedom because I lost a bit of time yesterday so I was able to get a gap and hold on to it.”
When you started getting closer to the finish line did you think that the win was yours?
“You’re never sure of a stage victory until you cross the line so I just put my head down and went as hard as I did. It’s tempting to look back and I think I did look back a few times but I just tried keeping my head forward.”
Just how hard was the Rettenbachferner?
“It’s definitely up there with the hardest climbs I have ever done. I can’t really think of a harder one right now.”
How are you approaching the last two stages?
“Looking at the GC as it stands after today 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. But it is still very regrettable having lost that time yesterday, because then I think I would be in with a good chance.
“Today couldn’t have gone any better for Tejay, especially as he bounced back so strong after Stage 6. We knew he had good legs from the beginning of the race and yesterday’s loss of time was definitely motivation to come back firing today on the Queen Stage.”
“For Tejay this is an important win for his confidence heading into the Tour de France, and of course it is an important win for BMC Racing Team, especially in Switzerland, the home of our title sponsor BMC Switzerland. We still have the time trial tomorrow and then the final mountain stage and I think we can get more good results.”
Tour de Suisse (2.UWT)
Stage 7 Arbon to Solden 224.3km
Top 3: 1. Tejay van Garderen, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team), Warren Barguil (Team Giant-Alpecin).