Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin) came to the fore Sunday, as part of a nine-man breakaway during stage 15 of the Tour de France. The tough day was a positive sign of his improving form, despite its late arrival. Hesjedal gave chase to Matteo Trentin (Etixx-Quickstep) who jumped the group as a last ditch effort before they were swallowed by a driving peloton. The day ended in a bunch sprint with André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) once again the victor.
“[The stage] was pretty straight forward,” Hesjedal told Cyclingnews. “It was a classic, all in, hard day. Deep down I knew it was really likely to be a sprint but it’s the Tour and you still got to give it a go.
The Canadian lost significant time in the first week to battle for a high place finish as he had hoped, but with a history of gaining strength in the final week of a grand tour he remains hopeful.
“It’s fun to be up there,” Hesjedal added. “A big day to get up there and race bikes, it felt good.”
Like many teams at the Tour, Cannondale-Garmin is looking for stage wins and breakaways following their earlier misfortunes. Once it was clear Andrew Talansky would not see his form from a year ago, Dan Martin took his turn, finishing second and earning most aggressive rider for stage 11 before falling ill with a minor cold this week. Hesjedal says the team will continue to push forward rather than looking back on missed opportunities.
“For me, it’s always been the idea to be realistic to come in with the form. I mean the race is just so hard; we’ve just been focused on the day at hand. We don’t really have time to kind of say what’s been lucky or unlucky.
Battling in the break the past couple of days, the team is encouraged to see what is possible heading into the final week.The peloton has one more stage Monday, before the anticipated rest day to recover for the Alps.
“When you put everything in the third week, you’re definitely looking forward to those mountains and certainly after these last couple of days, I do feel like I’m coming around and that’s good for the morale.”