The collapse of inflatable course signage forced Rui Costa and Tejay van Garderen (in red) to take drastic action to continue down the descent. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)

Tour de Suisse, Stage 7: Van Garderen Third; Frank Still Leads

14.06.2013, La Punt, Switzerland

BMC Racing Team's Mathias Frank held onto the overall lead Friday after the queen stage of the Tour de Suisse, while teammate Tejay van Garderen finished third on the day to climb from ninth to sixth overall.

'I Was Fighting'
Near the summit of the final climb of the 206-kilometer stage which finished going downhill, van Garderen was able to stay with a group of three riders – eventual stage winner Rui Costa (Movistar Team), runner-up Bauke Mollema (Blanco Pro Cycling Team) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ). Frank said he was struggling with the altitude at that point and could not keep pace. "I knew when they attacked, I had to just go my own rhythm," he said. "I just couldn't quite hold the wheels of those guys. I was fighting and gave everything. But I went really well on the downhill. I knew from training that I could get some time back and limit my losses." Frank's chasing group benefited somewhat from the collapse of an overhead inflatable across the course at 2 km to go, which forced the leaders to nearly come to a halt.

Leads By 13 Seconds
BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said he was monitoring the gap between the two groups on the climb and told van Garderen to follow the wheels of his breakaway companions. "Tejay was ready to wait if the gap was getting any closer," he said. "But it remained some 20 or 24 seconds. So there was no reason (to drop back). He was just staying on the wheel. I think this was a wise decision because Mathias was not alone. He had a few other GC contenders with him who were riding." Costa, who had been third overall, moved into second, 13 seconds behind Frank, by finishing 22 seconds ahead of Frank's group. Roman Kreuziger (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) dropped from second to third and is 23 seconds off the lead after finishing in Frank's group. Van Garderen said he had hoped to go for the stage win but was not familiar with the twisting finish. "I kind of messed up in the end without not really knowing the corners," he said "But it's good that we are still in yellow."

Listen to complete comments from Frank (English and German), Lelangue and van Garderen on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.