• Tejay Van Garderen passed the first test in the mountains. Just 11 stages to go... (AAP)Source: AAP
BMC Racing's Tejay van Garderen cemented his position as a serious contender for the Tour de France podium as he survived Chris Froome's onslaught on Stage 10.
Cycling Central

15 Jul 2015 - 7:10 AM  UPDATED 15 Jul 2015 - 8:25 AM

Van Garderen remains second on the general classification despite losing more than two and a half minutes to the rampant Team Sky rider on the slopes of Le Pierre-Saint-Martin.

"Sky definitely put on quite the performance," van Garderen said. "I tried my best to stay with them. When it got too much for me, I tried to stay in my rhythm and focused on getting to the top. I don't think today was my best day. But it wasn't all bad."

Froome wins Bastille Day battle of La Pierre-Saint-Martin
Race leader Chris Froome left no doubt as to who was in charge of the 2015 Tour de France after attacking and dropping his rivals to win the 10th stage.

Van Garderen didn't put a step wrong in the first week of the race, but today's stage was widely seen to be a key barometer of whether he had the form to stay with the 'Fab Four' group of contenders (Froome, Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana). In the end, he outclassed both Contador and Nibali, who both cracked in the heat of the final climb.

Contador: I couldn't breathe, and still can't
Tinkoff-Saxo leader Alberto Contador saw his dream of achieving a Giro-Tour double recede into the distance as he was left behind on the slopes of La Pierre-Saint-Martin.

"The first mountain day is always tricky," van Garderen said. "We have done almost two weeks without climbing any real mountains. So it can be quite a shock to the system, especially after a rest day. I feel like it should go better from here. I am definitely still happy about where we are sitting."

With two more days in the Pyrenees before the race starts to traverse southern France to the Alps, van Garderen will surely be hoping he can maintain his rhythm through the rest of the high peaks.