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First Place finisher Tejay van Garderen cheers at the winners podium of the Amgen Tour of California Stage 6 Time Trial, in San Jose on Friday, May 17, 2013. Van Garderen won the individual time trial in 48 minutes 52 seconds.

DANVILLE — Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing Team spent a night hoping to restore his energy for one final push to secure his first Amgen Tour of California title.

America's most prestigious cycling race comes down to a big moment Saturday in a 91.4-mile stage from Livermore to Danville that ends with an 11.5-mile ascent to Mount Diablo.

Australian Michael Rogers, the only foreigner to win the weeklong California race, knows he has little chance to catching van Garderen.

"I've been around long enough to know anything can happen," the second-place Saxo-Tinkoff rider said. "Sure, we will make a go at it and see if I can pick up time but I'm realistic: Tejay is probably in the best form of his life."

Tejay Van Garderen (31) rides down Willows Springs Rd. in south San Jose during the of the Tour of California cycling event’s Stage 6, the San Jose
Tejay Van Garderen (31) rides down Willows Springs Rd. in south San Jose during the of the Tour of California cycling event's Stage 6, the San Jose time trials, on Friday May 17. 2013. (Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group) ( Patrick Tehan )

Van Garderen, 24, showed just how good is he in winning the individual time trial Friday in San Jose to all but end the chance of anyone else capturing the yellow jersey. The race ends Sunday with a stage from San Francisco to Santa Rosa that is expected to have a sprint finish without a change in the overall standings.

So any last-gasp effort will come Saturday. Van Garderen, who finished fifth in the event in 2011 and fourth last year, knows what to expect. The tour leader said it will take a "100 percent commitment" from BMC teammates to protect the 1-minute 47-second lead over Rogers.

Australia's Cameron Meyer of Orica GreenEdge is third overall, 2:57 back.


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"It's a day you can't do on your own," van Garderen said. "It's a day that's not only going to be hard for me but for my team."

He added that the breakaways "are going to go insane."

Rogers agreed that his and other teams will attack as much as possible to try to break van Garderen's vice grip of the lead.

Jim Miller, USA Cycling's vice president of athletes, isn't sure the route to the summit of 3,865-foot Diablo is steep enough to present a major problem for BMC.

"It's a big climb but it doesn't appear to be relatively difficult," he said. "I don't know if the climb is difficult enough to break somebody. But they can't afford to have a bad day on Mount Diablo."

After two tough days of racing van Garderen plans to be ready. He said the 19.6-mile time trial that included a demanding climb to the finish line did not leave him spent.

"It's a different kind of energy, a very intense energy where you're out of breath, but you recover from it really quick," he said of the effort. "I'm not worried about having sore legs" for Mount Diablo.

Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.