Aspen’s van Garderen wins stage of Catalunya |

Aspen’s van Garderen wins stage of Catalunya

LA MOLINA, Spain — Aspen’s Tejay van Garderen climbed steadily after breaking from the pack and went on to win the fourth stage of the Volta a Catalunya by three seconds, while Bart De Clerq of Belgium took the overall lead on Thursday.

On the mountainous 117-mile ride from Tona to La Molina, van Garderen fended off an attack by Richie Porte of Australia, who finished second, and Alberto Contador, who was third, eight seconds behind.

Van Garderen’s chances of a good overall position were damaged by a fall Wednesday.

“After the unfortunate event … with the crash, luckily I came away with minimal damage. So I changed my tactic and put everything into this stage,” said van Garderen, the two-time defending overall champion in the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado. “I lost more than 20 minutes yesterday so there’s no chance (to win overall). We told the team last night and we stay positive to try and get into more breakaways and maybe try to win another stage.”

Van Garderen said he would “just keep racing aggressive and take the most out of it all.”

Today’s race is a 121-mile mainly downhill ride from Alp to Valls featuring a category 2 ascent near the finish.

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