Hesjedal abandons Romandie with focus on Giro d'Italia

Defending Giro champ in form

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) has abandoned the Tour de Romandie on stage 3 as he prepares the defence of his Giro d’Italia title. The Canadian pulled a similar tactic in last year’s edition of Romandie, leaving the race after stage 4 before going on to win his maiden Grand Tour within a month.

With the 2013 Giro d’Italia just over a week away Hesjedal has repeated the move. He posted a message on Twitter hours after abandoning the race.

“Stopped today to give myself a week till Giro..same as last year except I feel better on the bike. #moreisnotalwaysbetter.”

Hesjedal will lead Garmin in the Giro and is expected to be joined by Christian Vande Velde, who has returned to racing after breaking his wrist last month.

Hesjedal has enjoyed a strong start to the 2013 season and last week he helped set up teammate Dan Martin for the win in Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Hesjedal's Garmin-Sharp teammate Andrew Talansky, the 2012 Tour de Romandie second place finisher behind Bradley Wiggins, currently lies in second place in this year's edition, six seconds behind Sky’s Tour de France captain Chris Froome.

Saturday marks the queen stage of the race with four first category climbs along the 188.5km route. Included in Saturday's parcours are two ascents of the Col de la Croix, at 1,752m the highest elevation in this year's Tour de Romandie. The Swiss stage race concludes on Sunday with a 18.7km time trial.

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