Tejay van Garderen slipped from second to third overall Saturday at the Tour de France, but the BMC Racing Team's leader said he is not losing sight of a podium finish in Paris.
Van Garderen finished 25th, 39 seconds after Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team), who was out-sprinted at the finish by race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky). Quintana moved into second overall, 3:10 back of Froome, while van Garderen is a further 22 seconds behind.
Van Garderen lost contact on the Côte de la Croix Neuve, a three-kilometer climb with an average gradient of 10 percent that summited 1.5 kilometers from the end of the 178.5 km race.
"I just tried to stay within myself and limit the time loss," van Garderen said. "It is a pity to move down a place on GC (general classification), but the podium is still very much a realistic goal. It was a difficult climb. On those gradients, that is where I tend to struggle the most. The Alps are better suited to my characteristics. I am still looking forward and I am still feeling good.
"Even though I lost time on a couple of guys, I still gained time on Robert Gesink and Geraint Thomas and a few other guys close on GC," van Garderen continued. "So it was not entirely an unsuccessful day. I kind of knew this day was going to be one I had to get through. Now the Alps present more opportunities and more chances to take back some time."
BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois was also optimistic about van Garderen's chances.
"Tejay lost time, but this climb was very hard and steep, which was perfect for the big climbers like Quintana and Alejandro Valverde," Ledanois said. "The longer climbs - ones that are 15 and 20 kilometers - are better for Tejay. The tour is not finished. We have a very hard week still to come. So we will keep going, step-by-step, toward our No. 1 objective, which is the podium in Paris."
Stephen Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka) took the stage win by rocketing past runner-up Thibault Pinot (FDJ) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) on the downhill run-in to the finish. The trio was part of a 20-man breakaway that included BMC Racing Team's Greg Van Avermaet, who won his first Tour de France stage Friday. Van Avermaet finished 16th.
"I did not want to be in the break but I ended up in it because there were about 20 guys away and they closed the roads just after me. So I just went on," Van Avermaet said. "I tried to save as much energy as possible. But this kind of finish was pretty hard and I could not make it with the sprinters. It was too steep in the end and too long."