Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervelo) celebrates teammate Thor Hushovd's victory as he crosses the finish line two seconds later.
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Canadian already thinking about 2012
Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervelo) failed to land an individual win this season but he is pleased with his consistency throughout the year.
The Canadian picked up top ten placings at Paris-Nice, Criterium International and Pais Vasco. He finished 18th in the Tour de France, where he also shared in the team's success in the team time trial. Despite being hampered by a crash, he worked hard for the teammate Tom Danielson, while also making sure Garmin-Cervelo secured the team prize.
However despite that consistency, Hesjedal missed out a big win, something that looked possible after a breakthrough season in 2010.
"It was always going to be a tall order to keep the moment from 2010 but I think I did that. I think what I did this year was show consistency. I'm happy with my season even if my results weren't the same as 2010," he told Cyclingnews.
"Results don't always tell the story. I don't think anything was missing, things just have to work out. The more times you're up and trying to get the result, the more chances there are of things not coming off. I did everything I could to be better in the spring and I had much better results at the start of the season. I was really strong at Pais Vasco."
Team success at the Tour de France
Despite strong early season form, Hesjedal failed to show his true colours in the spring classics and struggled with stomach problems and then allergies. His Tour de France performance though epitomised his season. Coming into the race he had strong legs but a crash in the opening stages cost him time but more importantly left him with a damaged back and ribs. He could hardly walk, let alone breathe.
Although a repeat of a top ten finish was out of sight, he carried on and finished 18th, but most importantly he helped shepherd Tom Danielson to a top ten place overall, keeping up Garmin's record of placing a rider in the top ten every year since 2008.
"I got to the Tour in a good way but it was a different race than last year. My ride developed into something else but I was still happy with it. The objectives shifted but I was really happy to be part of that," he said.
"I was hurting. It would have been easier if my collarbone had broken and I could have gone home. I crashed hard enough and it really affected by spine and ribs. I had real trouble breathing and it was one of the worst things I've gone through in a race. I didn't recover for a long time and it was only in the final week that I started to feel better."
"Everything has to work out just right in those situations and the same thing happened in the Tour and in Montreal. I was there, being consistent and working for the team's objectives."
Tour Down Under start in 2012
Hesjedal is not riding the world Championships in Copenhagen and has already pulled down the curtain on his season.
Next season Hesjedal will follow a similar programme, focussing again on the Classics, Tour de France and Canadian races in the fall. However he may shift some races within his schedule, mentioning the Tour Down Under as a possible target.
"I want to get started early. Having a hill top finish at the Tour Down Under makes a difference and I've been close to the top ten before."
"I think I would have been better off riding Tirreno instead of Paris Nice this year too so we'll look at that for next season."