• Tejay van Garderen heading to the third step of the overall podium at the recent 2018 Volta ao Algarve (Getty)Source: Getty
Tejay Van Garderen crashed twice in the first stage of the 2018 Paris-Nice, the BMC rider abandoning the race after the second. Astana's GC hope Jakob Fuglsang also came down near the finish, losing valuable time.
Cycling Central

BMC Pro Team, Astana Pro Team
5 Mar 2018 - 8:10 AM  UPDATED 5 Mar 2018 - 9:55 AM

Van Garderen looking for Paris-Nice redemption
The last time Tejay van Garderen hooked up with Paris-Nice the relationship ended with a 16th place finish behind now team-mate and winner Richie Porte, now he's back and hoping for a much better result.

Van Garderen leaves France with some souvenir abrasions to the forehead and hip plus a sprain of the cervical vertabrae - also known as whiplash - from his second crash.

The first chute was relatively innocuous and came earlier on after several other riders found the slippery roads challenging. But Van Garderen was lucky to escape serious injury in the second collision into another team's car some 35 kilometres from the finish. 

"I was looking down to see what the damage was (after the first crash) and next thing I knew I was on the ground as I had crashed into the back of a team car that had stopped on the road," van Garderen said. "I don't know if anyone was at fault as they had stopped for their rider."

"I had the wind knocked out of me and I couldn't breathe. I also had pain in my upper back and neck so I couldn't really sit up.

"When the medics arrived and saw my helmet smashed and that I was having trouble breathing, they put me straight into the ambulance."

The 29-year-old showed no signs of concussion following the medics' protocols and later, x-rays showed no breakages. 

"It's good to take precautions but in the end, maybe I could have been able to continue. I have pain in my neck and a bit of a headache, but I don't feel nauseous."

The American also expressed his frustration at bowing out of the race to the sun as it followed his strong third placing overall at the recent Volta ao Algarve.

"I was hoping to be able to capitalise on that. Hopefully, I can get back on the bike soon, keep moving forward and maybe look at the race program to make up for the missed days here. It's only March 4th so there are plenty of races to come."

Astana's main GC men Jakob Fuglsang was also felled by a crash just before the final climb to the finish. 

"There was a crash in front of me, and I could just avoid it but then someone crashed into me from the back and I went down," the Dane said, losing over a minute. 

"Luckily no serious injury for me, but of course it never feels good when you crash. Now I have to recover and then we'll see what I can do in the next stages."

And if that wasn't enough, Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) crashed with about 30 kilometres to go, ultimately losing over 17 minutes to the leaders.

You can watch each stage of Paris-Nice LIVE on SBS and streaming here at Cycling Central. 

More at Cycling Central:
A Démare redux in Paris-Nice opener
Arnaud Démare won the first stage and took the overall lead of Paris-Nice but it took a photo-finish decision to confirm the outcome.