Ryder Hesjedal: “Canadians will know about the Giro d’Italia now”
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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ryder Hesjedal: “Canadians will know about the Giro d’Italia now”

by Ben Atkins at 3:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Garmin-Barracuda rider becomes the first Canadian in pink after letting it slip the day before

ryder hesjedalHaving left it a little late to chase down the break in yesterday’s sixth stage to Porto Sant’Elpidio, Garmin-Barracuda was forced to release its grip on the Maglia Rosa. With then leader Ramunuas Navardauskas - and second place Robbie Hunter - having cracked on the hot, hilly roads of Le Marche, the lead ought to have passed to third place Ryder Hesjedal. Instead, Lampre-ISD’s Adriano Malori - as part of the breakaway - had his first day in pink but, with the seventh stage finishing atop the Rocca di Cambio, one day was all that the 24-year-old Italian was going to get.

With Malori - and Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s second place man Michal Golas - cracking early into the 19.1km climb, and with Hesjedal climbing with the leaders, it was little more than a formality for the 31-year-old to become the first Canadian to take the lead in the Giro d'Italia.

“It’s unreal to pull on the Maglia Rosa,” Hesjedal said to the post-stage press conference. “We kept confident and said today is the day after missing out yesterday. The team was behind me 100% on the run in to the climb. Pete Stetina and Christian Vande Velde were never far from my side and Vande Velde put me in final position on the final approach. I just had to go for it and it went perfectly. This pink jersey is a product of good strong team work.”

It turned out to be a double day for the American team, as Stetina - who rode in the white jersey in lieu of Malori - made the young riders’ classification his own, as he finished just a few seconds behind his teammate.

Although Hesjedal is relatively new to racing on the road, the rider from Victoria, BC has a sixth place in the Tour de France to his name, which he took in 2010. With that experience behind him he hopes for a similar - or better - finish to this year’s Giro.

“I raced mountain bikes at a high level until 2004 and then a chance to ride on the road with Lance Armstrong’s US Postal team,” he explained. “I have been my best in the last week of Tour de France, so I hope to be one of the strongest in last week at the Giro d’Italia. There is a lot to win and to lose but I hope to be in good shape.

“I’m the first Canadian in the pink jersey and I think quite a few Canadians will be excited about today,” he added. “Outside of Italy we have one of the biggest Italian population in the world in Toronto.

"Canadians will know about the Giro d’Italia now."


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