Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) claimed stage four of the 2014 Volta a Catalunya on Thursday, conquering the race’s queen stage at Vallter 2000 in misty, freezing conditions.
It’s van Garderen’s first victory of the 2014 season, and the American can be rightly satisfied to have beaten Grand Tour rivals Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Chris Froome (Sky) in one of the year’s first big mountain tests.
Van Garderen out-paced fellow escapee Romain Bardet (Ag2r) to take the victory, with Contador coming home in third. British hope Chris Froome finished in seventh.
Rodriguez’s fourth spot was enough for him to hang on to the overall race lead ahead of Contador by a slim four-second advantage. Van Garderen moves up to third overall whilst Froome drops a place to sixth, 17 seconds behind Rodriguez.
The race concludes on Sunday, March 30, with few opportunities left for the other contenders to overhaul Rodriguez’s lead overall.
Volta a Catalunya 2014, stage four: Alp to Vallter 2000, 166.4km
1. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team in 4-49-30
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale at same time
3. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 3 secs
4. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 4 secs
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 5 secs
6. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 8 secs
7. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky at same time
8. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano at 15 secs
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale at 16 secs
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing at 21 secs
Overall classification after stage four
1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha in 17-47-34
2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 4 secs
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team at 7 secs
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale at 10 secs
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team at 10 secs
6. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky at 17 secs
7. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 18 secs
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale at 26 secs
9. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano at 42 secs
10. David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural at 45 secs
Chris Froome attacks in final kilometre but no-one can stop Joaquim Rodriguez