Tejay van Garderen misses Tour de France yellow jersey on tiebreak

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Tejay van Garderen nearly ended a lengthy U.S. yellow jersey drought at the Tour de France on Monday. He has the exact same time as leader and BMC teammate Greg Van Avermaet through three of 21 stages, but it’s the Belgian donning the maillot jaune on a tiebreaker.

The Tour de France rulebook spells it out:

The general individual time ranking is established by adding together the times achieved by each rider in the 21 stages including time penalties. In the event of a tie in the general ranking, the hundredth of a second recorded by the timekeepers during the individual time trial stages will be included in the total times in order to decide the overall winner. If a tie should still result from this, then the places achieved for each stage are added up and, as a last resort, the place obtained in the final stage is counted.

Since there have been no individual time trials, Van Avermaet is ahead of van Garderen because Van Avermaet finished ahead of van Garderen in each of the first two stages (by 30 places and 37 places, respectively), though they were in the same finishing group and received the same time.

Van Garderen has to be pleased to be in second place, given BMC won Monday’s team time trial, he has a teammate in yellow and his team leader, Richie Porte, has seconds on fellow favorites Chris FroomeVincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana.

But a yellow jersey would have been pretty sweet for the 29-year-old originally from Washington. He would have become the second American to enter the history books as a Tour de France leader, along with the only American to win the Tour, three-time champion Greg LeMond, who last wore yellow in 1991.

Four other Americans wore the yellow jersey after LeMond, but all had their results retroactively stripped for doping (Lance ArmstrongDavid ZabriskieGeorge Hincapie and Floyd Landis).

Van Garderen came close to yellow in 2015. He ranked second after stages nine through 13 and third after stages three through eight and 14 through 16, always trailing eventual winner Chris Froome. Van Garderen finished fifth overall in 2012 and 2014, winning the white jersey in 2012 as the best-placed rider under age 26.

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Nathan Chen prepared to capture third national title

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Nathan Chen called into his media teleconference from the rink last week, still on his winter break between his freshman semesters at Yale University.

The signal wasn’t great inside, he said, and it momentarily spared him from answering a direct question about his GPA his first semester as a college student.

Back on the call, the reigning world champion admitted, “I’m not gonna say the exact number, but there are some A’s and B’s sprinkled in.

“Really no complaints. I got pretty good grades. I’m pretty happy with that.”

His skating report card from the fall reads equally as impressively. Chen won the title at Skate America to open the season, followed by a come-from-behind win at Grand Prix France. To cap it all off, he won a second-consecutive Grand Prix Final title.

All this while the 2018 Olympic team event bronze medalist is across the country from his longtime coach Rafael Arutunian and trying out telecoaching for the first time.

Back in California between semesters, Chen said Raf has asked him to stay full-time.

“Since the past two weeks that I’ve been here, literally every day he’s been like, ‘you gotta come back! You gotta come back! There’s so much that you can learn at the rink. I respect what your decision is at Yale but it’s been so great having you here.’ He really wishes that I could stay here full time but at the same time, I already started this path and I don’t really want to pull out just yet.”

As for his second semester in college, Chen is signed up for about 10 courses and will have about two weeks at the beginning of term to add and drop courses. He’ll be in classes – he’s not exactly sure which, though – for a week before attempting to notch his third-straight U.S. national title.

“I selected a bunch of courses, probably selected like 10 different courses. I’ll go in and the first week I will see which courses I like, which courses I don’t like.”

Competing during the spring semester might be harder. February’s Four Continents Championships, this year to be held in Anaheim, Calif., aren’t during a scheduled academic break. Conveniently, world championships are scheduled during Yale’s spring break.

“I’m not sure yet [if he’ll compete there if named to the team],” he said. “That’s still TBD. I would love to since it’s in California, and it’s a great event. We’ll see.”

But for now, competing well in Detroit is the next step.

“I have to skate as well as I can and regardless of the external things,” he said when asked if coming in as the reigning world champion or as the favorite affects him. “Just focus on all the things that I can do right now in training to make sure that I do the best I can in competition.”

The men’s short program is Jan. 26 followed by the free skate on Jan. 27.

MORE: Adam Rippon’s new year’s resolutions

As a reminder, you can watch the U.S. Championships live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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Mikaela Shiffrin wins Kronplatz giant slalom for her 10th win of the season

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Mikaela Shiffrin won the women’s giant slalom at the World Cup stop in Kronplatz, Italy, on Tuesday, marking her 10th victory of the 2018-19 season and 53rd World Cup win of her career. Shiffrin, the 2018 Olympic giant slalom gold medalist, led France’s Tessa Worley by 1.39 seconds after the first run. Although Worley outpaced Shiffrin in the second run, Shiffrin’s massive first-run margin allowed her to win the two-run event by 1.21 seconds. Italy’s Marta Bassino placed third. Full results are here. 

Shiffrin entered Kronplatz ranked third in the World Cup giant slalom standings, but moves into first place with the win. The 23-year-old also leads the overall World Cup leader board, as well as the slalom and super-G discipline standings. Shiffrin has won seven World Cup globes in her career (two overall, five slalom).

Shiffrin has already broken multiple records this season, including becoming the youngest skier to win 50 World Cup races, and there are still more records within striking distance. Shiffrin could break the record for most World Cup wins in a single seasons; the current record (14) was set by Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider in 1988-89.

The next stop for the women’s World Cup is this weekend in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, with two downhills scheduled for Friday and Saturday, and a super-G slated for Sunday. Shiffrin plans to skip the downhills, but enter the super-G. Lindsey Vonn, who missed the start of the season with a knee injury, is expected to make her return to competition in Friday’s downhill.