Rasmussen ready to celebrate in Milan if Hesjedal takes pink
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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rasmussen ready to celebrate in Milan if Hesjedal takes pink

by Kyle Moore at 3:54 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Dane planning to “hold a big party” if Hesjedal can overtake Rodriguez in Milan time trial

Alex RasmussenSince putting in big work in the team time trial that would eventually set up two team-mates – Ramunas Navardauskus and Ryder Hesjedal – for the pink jersey, Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Barracuda) has taken a backseat in his first Grand Tour for the American team.

And though the TT specialist sits almost five hours behind Hesjedal in the general classification, Rasmussen is ready to celebrate if the lanky Canadian is able to overtake the 31-second deficit he faces to Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).

Hesjedal’s potential victory would mark the first Grand Tour win in the history of the Garmin-Barracuda team.

“It looks really good in the morning,” Rasmussen told Feltet.dk of the flat Milan time trial on Sunday. “Christian [Vande Velde] sat and led up to eight kilometers before the finish on the Stelvio and then Ryder took over. So it was perfectly raced by both riders.”

Though he didn’t necessarily take the odds of the surging Thomas De Gendt (Vancansoleil-DCM) into account, Rasmussen seemed confident in his team-mate’s ability to time trial better than those around him, such as Rodriguez, Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale).

“They know very well that [Hesjedal] can smash them in the time trial,” Rasmussen stated. “So they tried to put enough pressure on him when De Gendt was up front. But they could not. So it looks pretty good going toward [Sunday] and I think Ryder looks really strong out there. He seemed pleased when I came to the finish.”

Even with Rodriguez’ noted struggles against the clock, the Catalan performed above expectations in the stage one time trial. So Rasmussen tried to keep from jumping to conclusions.

“We all hope he can do it but we will not take anything for granted,” he added. “But if they go as they normally do, then he should take the jersey.”

If Hesjedal is able to surpass Rodriguez and hold off De Gendt, he will zip up the Maglia Rosa in Milan. His team has been known to spray plenty of champagne when they come into victory, and Rasmussen said that if his team did take the final pink jersey, they would celebrate accordingly.

“We are ready to hold a big party if [Ryder] succeeds. It will be something of a sensation because I don’t think many before the race had anticipated that Ryder could win. But as he was racing the past few days, he has been very impressive. He has really shown that he has something to shoot with when it comes to the long, hard climbs. So it will be fully deserved if he should run away with the overall victory.”

Hesjedal faces a flat, 31km time trial and 31 seconds between he and Rodriguez before we find out if Rasmussen and Garmin-Barracuda will be partying in pink.

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