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Van Garderen steals the spoils in USA
Aug 22nd, 12. BMC's Tejay van Garderen was the surprise winner of Stage 2 of the USA Pro Challenge after a break was caught napping in the final few metres.
Van Garderen, however, was in control and burst to the finish line in a two man fight with Garmin Sharp Barracuda's Christian Vande Velde.
After today's winning performance, the Best Young Rider from this year's Tour de France took the leader's jersey from yesterday's winner Tyler Farrar (Garmin Sharp Barracuda).
Van Garderen said he initially wasn't aiming to win the 159.6km stage, "But then toward the end, our guys started working and started bringing the gap to the breakaway down, so I couldn't let them down," he said.
"I wasn't going into the last 4km thinking I was going to win, but I knew I was going to try. When I looked over my shoulder and I saw Christian Vande Velde on my wheel, I thought he was in a perfect position to outsprint me, but at this altitude, I think he may have had trouble with his acceleration."
Earlier, a big break of about 30 riders did not stick, but the move did lead to a smaller group of 12 tearing off the front to form a breakaway that would last up until the last minutes of the stage.
In the break for the second day in a row was Jens Voigt (RadioShack Nissan Trek). With him was Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas-Cannondale, David Zabriskie of Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda, Mathias Frank of BMC Racing Team and representatives from Bissell Pro Cycling, Champion System, EPM-UNE, Team Type 1 and Team Exergy. There were no Kiwis out front today.
With the stage nearing the finish, the break was reduced to nine riders after Voigt, Nibali and one other fell back to the peloton. The break still had a 4min gap with 15km to go, but on the climb to Crested Butte the peloton drew closer.
In a last effort, with about 3km to go, the riders in the break started attacking one another, only to find van Garderen had come out of nowhere with Vande Velde on his wheel with 500m to go. The BMC rider stole the stage win and the tour lead.
"I am really happy with my ride today and very proud of how the team is riding here in Colorado," said 2nd placed Vande Velde. "As an American team based in Boulder, this race is a special one for us. The team is ultra-motivated, we've animated the race the first two days and we hope to continue to do so as the week goes on."
Tejay van Garderen took the Exergy Leader Jersey. Tyler Farrar (USA) of Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda kept the Waste Management Sprint Jersey, as did Tom Danielson (USA) of Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda with the Nissan King of the Mountains Jersey. Rafael Infantino Abreu (COL) of EPM-UNE claimed Evolve Most Aggressive Rider Jersey for his effort on the climbs. Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) of Bontrager Livestrong Team was awarded the Aquadraat Best Young Rider Jersey.
NZ's George Bennett is now 3rd +21sec in the Best Young Rider competition. The RadioShack Nissan Kiwi finished +33sec behind van Garderen today. The other Kiwis all finished safely further down the field.
Tomorrow is the 210km Queen stage of the tour.
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