Tejay van Garderen of the BMC Racing Team remained second overall after a second straight day in the Pyrenees Wednesday at the Tour de France.
Van Garderen placed 13th on the summit finish of the 188-kilometer stage, just behind teammate Samuel Sánchez and in the same time as nearly all of the race favorites. Chris Froome (Team Sky) still leads van Garderen by 2:52, with Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) in third, 3:09 back. Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) soloed away from a breakaway group to take the stage win.
"Astana was a little bit aggressive on the Tourmalet, but all in all, it was a pretty smooth day," van Garderen said. "The Tourmalet, when Astana was making a tempo, was quite difficult. But with this finish, and the Tourmalet so far, it was more just following wheels. Tomorrow should really shake up the GC (general classification) a lot more."
Thursday's 195-km stage features four major climbs, including a third straight summit finish.
BMC Racing Team's Rohan Dennis said warm temperatures made the stage more difficult as the race crossed its highest point.
"The Tourmalet is not so open at the bottom, but at the top there is no shelter," Dennis said. "You get a little bit of relief with the tunnels, but that's about 30 seconds and then you're back out in the sun.
"Tejay being second overall is good for us," Dennis said. "Our goal is the podium in Paris. Obviously, we will protect him again tomorrow. Then there are a couple of flatter stages before we get to the Alps and then it is game on again."