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Ryder Hesjedal

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Slipstream) in Tour de France's Monaco time trial

Timetrial time

By:
Ryder Hesjedal
Published:
July 23, 2009, 12:11 BST,
Updated:
July 23, 2009, 21:18 BST

Ryder can hear Paris calling

T-Y-P-I-N-G O-N-E L-E-T-T-E-R A-T A T-I-M-E, D-A-V-E I-S S-L-E-E-P-I-N-G.

Ah, forget that, I’ll miss my start in the time trial if I carry on typing at that speed. Dave Zabriskie and I have just got back to the hotel after stage 17 and he’s face down on his bed, fast asleep. He deserves it though, he put in such a strong ride. He went away with a large group earlier in the stage and then when Bradley and Christian caught him he started driving on the front. Okay, it’s his job, but to do that for as long as he did, man, that was impressive.

As for me, I’m not feeling too bad. Yesterday was a really hard day for me and I wasn’t great, but today was a lot better. I was able to help our two leaders right up until the second to last climb when all the big boys started to play. It was a really steep at the base of the climb and the attacks were relentless.

Bradley unfortunately lost a bit of time but he’s still riding a great race and we’re all really proud of his performance. To be up there, doing what he’s doing is just amazing. Not only that, and I’m not being biased here, but the guy is racing smart too. Yesterday he wasn’t doing all of the work, just doing what he needed to do.

You’ll see him on fire today in the time trial. He missed out on a TT win by just one second in the Giro and was bitterly disappointed. Today should be a different race. He’ll be looking to claw back as much time on some of his rivals and climb back up the leaderboard. Sparks could really fly.

But we’re nearly there. I know we have some difficult days ahead, and of course there’s the stage to Ventoux, but Paris is getting closer and I can almost feel it now. It’s been a long, hard Tour but the spirit within the camp has always been great. My condition is improving and I’m hoping to take that form into the rest of the season.

Dave’s starting to stir now, so if I want to make it to Paris I’d better stop typing and quiet down.
 

Say cheese: Ryder smiles before the stage start

Unfriendly fire in France

By:
Ryder Hesjedal
Published:
July 17, 2009, 20:39 BST,
Updated:
July 17, 2009, 21:53 BST

A shock for Ryder on an already difficult stage 13

We’ll take the rain, we’ll take the cold. We’ll take the crashes and we’ll take the defeats but on today’s stage something happened that we’ll never accept as bike racers: getting shot at. Yeah, that's right, you heard me correctly - getting shot at.

My teammate, Julien Dean, was unbelievably shot at with an air gun during today’s stage and was hit in the hand. It goes without saying that it’s not something you really expect in a cycling race. Maybe it was kids being stupid or we’d hit a small French town that had never seen the Tour and decided to open fire on a moving peloton, but anyone having that kind of intent is scary. Who knows what the meaning of that was?

The stage itself was good for me and I had good legs, unlike yesterday when I was struggling after my crash the previous day. Today it was all about keeping Bradley Wiggins and Christian Vande Velde out of trouble and sticking with them on the climbs, giving them as much assistance as I could. It took a while for things to settle down today but once a break had gone up the road we were able to relax a bit as there was no one threatening to the overall.

The conditions were a big factor on the racing. Like I said, my legs were good but it would have been absolutely horrible if I’d been feeling below par.

The conditions were the main factor today. They magnified the difficulties of racing significantly, especially with the big climbs and some technical descents. It makes the race harder for everybody.

I those circumstances I try to focus on what needs to be done and not worry about the conditions too much. They’re there, just deal with it. If it’s raining I can’t go back to the car and say, ‘Oh, it’s raining today boss, I can't do my job’. Part of cycling is dealing with whatever is thrown your way and if the elements aren’t to your liking you just have to get on with it.

Right now the team are travelling to the next hotel, where we’ll rest up and have dinner. We see a lot of hotels at the Tour - usually a different one every night – and they seem to merge into one after a while. I don’t what tonight’s will be like. Probably just like last night’s, whatever that was like.
 

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Slipstream)

Easy Ryder

By:
Ryder Hesjedal
Published:
July 13, 2009, 18:37 BST,
Updated:
July 13, 2009, 19:45 BST

A day of rest after a tough journey through the Pyrenees

Rest days. Just like race days but with out the racing. Sounds weird, but they're really not that different from a normal Tour stage. Okay, we don't go eyeballs out through 230km of French countryside but we still go through the motions of any other day in the Tour.

We still get up early, we eat, we go out on the bikes, we finish (tired), we have a massage, the mechanics work on our bikes, we eat and then we sleep. The rhythm is the same but we don't need to switch on for the competition of racing. Unsurprisingly, I try and keep things simple on rest days to maximise recovery. I want as few complications as possible, especially after the last few stages.

I managed to get through the climbs on stage seven to Andorra Arcalis. My role was to make sure that Christian and Bradley were in the best possible positions and they were ready for the final climb. Job done, but with around 10km left I was shelled out the back.

The next stage to Saint-Girons was a totally different experience. We started with a Cat 1 climb of Port d'Envalira in the first 25km and immediately I knew I was in trouble. I was slipping back at an alarming rate, unable to help the team as I ran out of gears. In the end I had to accept that the previous day and the two crashes I'd had in the first week were beginning take their toll.

You just have to accept that these things happen: you can't be at the front all day, every day. I ended up spending the stage in the gruppeto and saving as much energy as I could. It paid off. The next day on stage nine was a lot better and I finished with the main bunch and at the side of Christian and Bradley.

What Bradley has done since the Tour began has been truly amazing but to me it's not a total surprise. Now that he's focussing entirely on the road he's had time to adapt and progress. After the Giro we all had an idea that he could be there with the best guys on the climbs, but to have him up there with Christian, who had such bad luck earlier in year, certainly means a lot to the team.

Last year we had Christian up there in the general classification flying the flag for us but now we have two guys in the top eight and both of them within striking distance of the yellow jersey. Other teams will look at the overall and think 'Wow! Garmin must be a factor in this race. Are they going to keep both guys as high as possible or use one as a weapon?', so we're really in a strong position in that sense.

Bring on the Alps!

 

Say cheese: Ryder smiles before the stage start

Onwards and upwards

By:
Ryder Hesjedal
Published:
July 10, 2009, 10:59 BST,
Updated:
July 10, 2009, 12:20 BST

Not even two crashes can keep Ryder from smiling

This is it. It's time for the mountains of the Tour de France and I'm ready to work my socks off for Christian Vande Velde and Bradley Wiggins. Today's stage to Arcalís is going to be really tough, not just because of the horrific profile of climbs, but because all the general classification guys will want to show that they mean business. That means that riders like me will have to work hard just to position their leaders near the front and keep them from trouble.

It's not just today's stage that looks hard: the next three days look tough and we'll have to assess everything all over again on the first rest day.

Yesterday was another hard day for me. I crashed again and went down on the same side as the day before. Luckily nothing was broken or too sore so I was able to keep going, but I was behind another crash near the end. I ended up losing contact with the leaders. Having your body hit the pavement is never a good thing but the hardest part of the day, yet again, were the conditions. The rain was a huge factor, causing multiple crashes, splits and general chaos in the bunch.

The day had started out so well. In case you don't know, Garmin-Slipstream's base is in Girona, Spain, exactly where the stage started. So many of the roads we raced on we use in our training rides. There were so many friendly and familiar faces at the start of the stage and the occasion was really special. You see so many starts and finishes during the year that they tend to blur into one but this one was special. I've lived in Girona since 2004 and my folks were over here to watch the stage. It all added up to a fantastic atmosphere.

From Girona we rolled out along the coast and it was always the plan that we'd try and show ourselves in break so that we wouldn't have to chase all the way to the finish. David Millar took things by the scruff of the neck and really showed just how strong and classy he is on the bike. It was touch-and-go when he broke clear of his breakaway companions but in the end it didn't work out. Still, it was an awesome ride.

I'm on the team bus, but I need to go. It is time for us to sign on for today's stage. Wish me luck!
Thanks,
Ryder

 

Garmin-Slipstream on its way to second place.

Full gas in Montpellier

By:
Ryder Hesjedal
Published:
July 08, 2009, 5:20 BST,
Updated:
July 08, 2009, 18:20 BST

Hesjedal crucial fifth man in Garmin-Slipstream team time trial

I'm beat. Man, that was a hard team time trial. We gave it everything today and it was one of the most extraordinary days I've spent on the bike. We were so motivated coming into this stage after missing out on the win at the Giro, but once again we came up a short.

To lose to Astana, however, a team packed with such quality, isn't such a disappointment. We did a great ride and we're really proud that we left everything out on the road today. We couldn't have given it any more.

You may have seen that we were down to five riders at the end: both Davids, Bradley, Christian and myself. My job was to make sure that we got to the finish with five of us there. There’s no doubt that the four strongest guys were really on fire today. From a fan's perspective it must have been enthralling viewing as each team snaked along those thin roads at full gas.

Garmin-Slipstream down to five riders, including Cyclingnews diarist Ryder Hesjedal

In the grand scheme of things we have to take as many positives as we can, though. The Tour is a three-week adventure and we put some time into a few GC threats today that sets Christian up really nicely in the overall. In fact, we have four riders in the top 12, which is encouraging.

It seems like ages since we rolled out of Gerona last week. I'll admit that we all felt like Juniors leaving for our first race - setting off from our homes with just our bikes and our bags, the team was buzzing, morale sky-high. But like I said, this Tour has a long way to go and I'm motivated to help the guys as much as possible.

I'm rooming with David Zabriskie in the Tour this year. We've roomed together countless times; in fact at my first training camp with US Postal in 2004 he was my first roommate. We've never done a three-week race together, though, so even this is a new experience for both of us. I'll update you on how that’s going in my next report.

Thanks,

Ryder

Author
Ryder Hesjedal

Hailing from British Columbia, Canada, Ryder is competing in his second Tour de France this year.

The Garmin-Slipstream rider is a strong domestique and will be working hard as the team hopes to propel Christian Vande Velde and Tyler Farrar to Tour success. Follow Ryder’s exclusive Cyclingnews diary as he battles through the three-week race.