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Americans abroad: Van Garderen’s first win of 2016

Welcome to “Americans Abroad,” our weekly check-in with the American pro racers in the European peloton. VeloNews will publish these updates every Monday throughout the season.

Tejay van Garderen showed he is coming into good form at the start of the season with a victory in the individual time trial at the Ruta del Sol, which wrapped up Sunday in Spain. The victory propelled the BMC Racing rider into the overall race lead heading into the final stage, a 164-kilometer mountainous route that ended with the Peñas Blancas climb.

Van Garderen was 24th overall coming into the time trial, with the same time as race leader and Sky rider Ben Swift. He powered through the TT course to edge LottoNL – Jumbo’s Wilco Kelderman (+2 seconds) and IAM Cycling’s Jerome Coppel (+7 seconds), and led both riders in the GC by the same time.

However, the 27-year-old van Garderen could not hold onto his lead in Sunday’s stage 5 finale. Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde, who began the day 22 seconds behind van Garderen, launched an attack roughly 7km from the finish and was able to win both the stage and the race.

Van Garderen finished 48 seconds behind Valverde on the stage in fourth, and in the overall he was 26 ticks behind the Spaniard in second.

Brent Bookwalter (BMC)

Bookwalter was in Spain racing with van Garderen and finished the Ruta del Sol in eighth place, 2:03 behind Valverde. His best finish in the five days was fourth in the time trial, 15 seconds behind van Garderen.

Matthew Busche (UnitedHealthcare)

Matthew Busche and his UHC team stayed in the Middle East last week with a trip to Oman. Busche finished the Tour of Oman 31st overall, 8:51 off the pace set by race winner Vincenzo Nibali. His best finish was 39th in stage 5.

Lawson Craddock (Cannondale)

After crashing heavily in Tour de San Luis in Argentina, Lawson Craddock continued his early season at the two-day Tour du Haut Var-Matin. He finished 20th overall, nine seconds behind race winner Arthur Vichot of FDJ. Craddock was third in the best young rider classification.

Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale)

Dombrowski competed in his second race of the season at the Haut Var-Matin. He finished 73rd overall, 6:03 back from Vichot. His best finish was 61st in stage 1.

Daniel Eaton (UnitedHealthcare)

Eaton competed in the Tour of Oman, finishing the six-stage race 88th overall.

Tyler Farrar (Dimension Data)

Farrar was also in Oman. He finished 128th overall, and his teammate, Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen, won stages 2 and 5 and the points jersey.

Phil Gaimon (Cannondale)

After starting the season at the Tour de San Luis, Gaimon raced at the Haut Var-Matin, where he finished 103rd overall.

Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare)

Chris Jones was the fourth UHC American in Oman. He finished 37th overall.

Taylor Phinney (BMC)

Phinney began his season in France at the Haut Var-Matin. He finished 57th overall.

Joey Rosskopf (BMC)

After racing Tour of Qatar, Rosskopf finished his run through the Middle East in Oman, finishing 98th overall.