Race: Amgen Tour of California stage 4 (ITT) (WorldTour)
Date: May 16, 2018
Weather: Partly sunny and warm
Winner’s quote: “It feels incredible. It’s been five years since I was last at the Tour of California. It was my first major GC victory as a professional, so obviously I have great memories. Last time I came here I was a new father, and today I was able to bring back my little girls on the stage. Now I have two. Everyone got to see my little girl five years later. It’s an incredible feeling and an incredible experience, and I’m definitely going to savour it.”
Critical point: The second half of the 34.7km loop was flatter, more exposed and windier than the first half, but van Garderen made serious inroads on his competitors over this section. Van Garderen was three seconds down on Bevin at the last checkpoint, but gained 10 seconds in the closing stages to beat his teammate by seven seconds and put 1:23 into Egan Bernal (Team Sky), taking the overall lead from the young Colombian by 23 seconds.
Unsung hero: Bevin got his time in the hot seat and his laurels for taking second place, but the service he provided to van Garderen was invaluable on an entirely different level. Bevin started 40 minutes before his team leader and set the fastest time of the day, laying down a series of time splits that van Garderen tried to match or better, and in doing so set the fastest time of the day.
“Unlucky for Paddy that I was getting all of his splits,” van Garderen said. “That was mainly the information I was getting. I was the first of the big GC wave to go, so I wasn’t really able to gauge anything from my rivals, so I was really gauging it from Paddy.”
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