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Champagne for Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda).
Canadian says he “buckled down” to defend lead on Colle Molella
Ryder Hesjedal remains in pink for a second day running - Garmin-Barracuda’s fourth day leading the Giro 2012 so far - and the Canadian was keen to correct some inaccurate media reports that he had no interest in being in that colour by the time the race reaches Milan.
“I’ve always believed in myself, I want to clarify whatever [previous news] story ended up going out saying I wasn’t here to win the Giro, I was here to try and be in the pink jersey [of leader].”
“I came here to ride my best and give my best effort, and that was the goal so I feel like I’m doing that. Right now, I’m winning the Giro d’Italia so I’m happy with that.”
“I didn’t set any goals for this race, simply to do my best and see where that put me. That’s what I’ve done in the past.”
“People can say you’re capable of this or that depending on past performances and so on, I’m just focussed on doing my best and we’ll see how the race develops.”
Although he didn’t look comfortable on the second category climb, and was all but off the back on one occasion, ultimately Hesjedal clung onto the group of favourites and came through well.
“It was a tough day, the tempo that was set [on the Colle Molella for] three kms at 10 percent, that was tough,” he recognised. He pointed out that a lot of riders more suited to that kind of climb were in trouble on what was “an all-out effort at the end of a grinding day.”
“I just really had to buckle down and keep in contact and defend the jersey and that was it, I was able to get over the top and do that.”