Ryder Hesjedal is ready to face his first race in Europe since April. Team Garmin's Canadian will line up in the Tour de Suisse stage race with Christian Vande Velde Saturday as a launch pad for the Tour de France.
"I started my season at the Tour Down Under and raced through until Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The decision gave me a break and to recoup for the Tour," Hesjedal told Cyclingnews.
Team Garmin decided to leave Hesjedal off the Giro d'Italia team to have him prepare for the Tour de France, July 4 to 26. The selection was unexpected since he rode the Giro d'Italia prior to the Tour de France in 2008.
"In that first week, I did not touch my bike"
"Once the decision was made it made sense not to be in Europe and get back to where my family and friends are. I went back home to Canada and Hawaii for a couple of weeks in both places. It was a good break mentally.
"I was in Canada three days after I knew I was not racing the Giro. In that first week, I did not touch my bike. I started back with one day easy and one day off, and then I went to Maui [Hawaii] for a big block [of training]."
The training continues for Hesjedal at the team's European base in Girona, Spain. He rides with Christian Vande Velde, who had to give up his classification aspirations after a crashed forced his withdraw in the first week. The two will use Switzerland's nine-day Tour de Suisse as their final race prior to the Tour de France.
"I never have done it before; I usually ride the Dauphiné Libéré. Suisse will be a good platform for the Tour, but I am not just there for training."
Suisse starts with a 7.8-kilometre time trial in Ruggell. There are three mountaintop finishes and a 39-kilometre time trial on the final day in Berne.