Ryder Hesjedal will lead Garmin-Barracuda’s attack on the 2012 Giro d’Italia. The Canadian, who finished 7th in the 2010 Tour de France says that the Giro course is better suited to his style of riding but that he will still ride the Tour in July.
Hesjedal will be supported by American teammate Christian Vande Velde, who will be using the Giro to hone his form for July. This would suggest that Tom Danielson will be asked to ride the Tour of California in May, followed by the Tour de France.
“The Giro is the main objective for me,” Hesjedal told Cyclingnews.
“The team has given me the opportunity and the challenge of riding the GC in the Giro. They think the race suits me and I think that too. There’s a heavy last half in the mountains and I think I’ve shown that I get my best legs towards the end of a race. This gives me an excellent platform heading into the Tour de France.”
Hesjedal has never been given the opportunity to lead a GC challenge in a grand tour. Despite his top ten in 2010 he shared leadership with Vande Velde and Danielson, although crashes in the race and Danielson's form quickly saw Hesjedal and Vande Velde become key domestiques. The role as team leader isn’t one that Hesjedal fears and he publicly wont be drawn on his aims, whether they be top ten, top five or even the podium.
“I’m not really thinking about that mindset but the team think I can push high on the GC. I’m not going to fixate on a result or a number, I’m just focussed on the work I need to do. I want to be up there, I know what it feels like to be in the single digits on GC and it’s a nice feeling,” he told Cyclingnews.
“The Giro is a huge race. I have two experiences there: it was my first grand tour in 2005 andI crashed heavily at the start of the race, I made it to two weeks and I had to quit the day Salvodelli took pink. Then my first day back was with Slipstream in 2008 and we took the pink jersey in the team time trial. I made it through that race and it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”