Ryder Hesjedal on Liege: "Every rider dreams of winning it."
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ryder Hesjedal on Liege: "Every rider dreams of winning it."

by Jered Gruber at 9:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Canadian and his strong Garmin-Cervelo team hope to pull an Ardennes Vansummeren on Sunday

Following a disappointing day in Limburg last Sunday beset by bad luck and health issues, the fortunes of the Garmin-Cervelo team began to turn yesterday in Huy. In arguably the world's most difficult bunch sprint finish, Frenchman Christophe Le Mevel took 9th, with Canada's Ryder Hesjedal a few spots further back in 13th.

It was a return to solid health for Hesjedal, who saw all hopes of a second straight podium appearance at the Amstel Gold Race ended with a bad stomach in the finale of the first of the three Ardennes classics.

Coming into the finale of Wednesday's Fleche Wallonne, both Hesjedal and Le Mevel were in solid position to fight for a top placing. The tall Canadian takes up the story from here...

"Christophe was riding well, and we did well to get to the base of the Mur in good position. When you get to the bottom of the climb, you just hope for the best. I was just behind Christophe, and I had pretty good position. The Mur isn't the best climb in the world for me. There's a big acceleration, and it takes me a little more time to get my rhythm. I came back on guys, but it's short and quick. Today was a good day, and now we all have eyes on Liege."

The winner of the final stage of last year's Tour of California says that Gilbert will be the rider to watch, but it's not as simple as that at Liege - the longer, harder parcours will throw in a number of new variables for King Gilbert to overcome.

"Today was a good indication for what lies in store for Sunday. Gilbert is strong right now, but Liege is Liege. There will be a lot of big riders on big teams with big ambitions. We'll have to see what happens."

The former mountain biker admits that Liege-Bastogne-Liege is the race that captures his imagination, and with his health back, a top result is possible.

"We've all been working hard to be ready for these races and Liege is the definitive race of the spring classics. Every rider dreams of winning it. I hope to be at my best, and I can have the race I know I can have. I am feeling better after what happened Sunday at Amstel Gold. It was just one of those things. I got sick right at the decisive moment of the race, and there was nothing I could do. That's bike racing. It was frustrating, but I know that the condition is there. We'll be ready for Sunday."

With both Le Mevel and Hesjedal obviously in good form, along with Christian Vande Velde, and a hopefully healthy Daniel Martin following his crash yesterday - will it be possible for Garmin-Cervelo to manage a second toppling of a seemingly invincible rival? They managed the feat at Roubaix with a powerful team from top to bottom - can they do it again on Sunday?



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