The 2010 season was the best of Ryder Hesjedal's career, highlighted by a seventh place finish in the Tour de France, second in Amstel Gold, a victory in the Amgen Tour of California's final stage and an eighth place finish on the UCI World Ranking.
While taking part in Garmin-Cervelo's week-long training camp in the Cayman Islands, the 29-year-old Canadian discussed his approach to the upcoming season.
"I haven't really thought about concrete, specific goals regarding placings," Hesjedal told Cyclingnews. "I'm just moving forward, comfortable and confident from this season. I'm not only trying to improve, but trying to do it again.
"If I can get to a point where I can be eighth in the world rankings again, top 10 in the Tour again, stand on the podium in the Ardennes again and win a stage in California that would be a good season.
"If you look at the style of rider that I am and the races I race victories aren't easy to come by. That's just the way it is. Sprinters have a lot more opportunities to take advantage of the form when it's there. When I can win a very selective, hilly stage at California, or win a stage in the Basque Country or a race in the Ardennes, that's huge," he explained.
"The big thing with Ryder is that he's never bad," said Matt White, Garmin-Cervélo sports director. "He's so consistent all year round, but in 2010 he was consistent at a higher level than he's ever been before.
"It wasn't really a breakout season this year, but it was definitely the best season of his life. He did have a breakout Tour de France, that's for sure. Now we're going to build on that for next year."
Hesjedal met with White during the Caymans camp to map out his 2011 race programme through the Tour de France, with only a few slight differences from his 2010 campaign such as Paris-Nice instead of Tirreno-Adriatico and Critérium International in lieu of Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.
Depending on his fitness, Hesjedal may open his season in early February with a couple of days of racing on Mallorca, otherwise he'll make his first start in mid-February at Portugal's Volta ao Algarve.
From there the Canadian will contest races such as Paris-Nice, Critérium International, GP Miguel Indurain, Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, Klasika Primavera de Amorebieta, culminating with the Ardennes Classics.
Following a break, Hesjedal will return to racing at the Amgen Tour of California and Tour de Suisse in preparation for the Tour de France, in which he'll head a two-pronged attack on general classification with Christian Vande Velde.
For Hesjedal, success in 2011 can be characterised by the expression: 'If if ain't broke, don't fix it' as the Canadian replicates his programme from the past season. Hesjedal's familiar regimen has already begun with his pre-season preparation as he returned to the Hawaiian island of Maui in October for the fourth straight year to train through the New Year.
Hesjedal's sole sojourn out of Maui brought the Canadian from one sunny paradise to another, the Cayman Islands, for Garmin-Cervelo's week-long training camp. "I know what works." he said. "I have no anxieties or concerns that I can't do what I did again. It wasn't just a magical peak at some point in the season that everything's hinging on.
"To be eighth overall in the world rankings you've got to be in the front from March to September and I know I can do that. I know what I've done to get here and there's no crazy formula for it to happen again."
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Based in the southeastern United States, Peter produces race coverage for all disciplines, edits news and writes features. The New Jersey native has 30 years of road racing and cyclo-cross experience, starting in the early 1980s as a Junior in the days of toe clips and leather hairnets. Over the years he's had the good fortune to race throughout the United States and has competed in national championships for both road and 'cross in the Junior and Masters categories. The passion for cycling started young, as before he switched to the road Peter's mission in life was catching big air on his BMX bike.
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