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STATELINE, Nevada (VN) – Tejay Van Garderen will be aggressive in chasing bonus seconds if the opportunity arises in the opening stages of the Amgen Tour of California. HTC-Highroad’s young GC favorite told VeloNews Friday that arriving safely to the stage 4 summit finish on Sierra Road was his top priority, but that he would look for any advantage he could find along the way.
“You saw last year that Mick Rogers was able to take a few time bonus seconds which was pretty crucial to his win, so if they’re out and up for grabs I might be going for them,” said Van Garderen. “I’m confident to be able to follow [Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner’s] wheels and even to be able to attack them and go for the wins myself on those key stages. Sometimes the differences are small and it’s a matter of little seconds here and there, so you don’t want to give anything away, but I wouldn’t say that’s the only way I can win this race.”
In an appearance on the new, interactive web show, “VeloLive with Brian Holcombe,” Van Garderen said he expected a more selective week of racing over two summit finishes and the 24km Solvang time trial.
“The gaps will be bigger,” said Van Garderen. “It’ll be groups of two or three, but between the best guys, when everyone’s on form the differences are still going to be pretty tight because everyone’s so closely matched here.”
Time bonuses of ten, six and four seconds will be on offer at the finish of five stages of the tour. Additionally, eleven intermediate time bonuses of three, two and one second will be available throughout the weeklong race. The summit finishes at Sierra Road and Mount Baldy, and the time trial, will not offer bonus seconds at the line.
Rogers, then a teammate of Van Garderen’s, took the gold leader’s jersey with a time bonus sprint in Bakersfield on the fifth stage in 2010. The Aussie finished second on the stage to Peter Sagan – one place ahead of David Zabriskie – to take an eight-second bonus and the overall lead. An exciting sprint of the stage win and bonuses followed with Rogers again running third, on same time as Rory Sutherland and winner Peter Sagan.