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Hesjedal content despite losing Giro lead

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Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin - Barracuda) tries to hold Rodriguez on the final climb

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin - Barracuda) tries to hold Rodriguez on the final climb (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin - Barracuda) at the start of stage 9

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin - Barracuda) at the start of stage 9 (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Canadian Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) slid to second overall after Joaquim Rodriguez's devastating late acceleration at Assisi, but the former mountain biker says he's feeling satisfied with his Giro d'Italia performance so far and hints there may well be a lot more to come.

"I'm still close to the top and still in the big picture," the Garmin-Barracuda rider, sixth on the stage, said as he warmed down after the stage.

"I'm happy at the way I rode in the final, and without the time bonuses [on the stage], I'd still have the jersey. I'm not losing any time on the other rivals."

As he pointed out, Rodriguez is the best in the world at uphill sprints, and had already shown he was in good form on previous stages, most recently prior to Tuesday with his late attack on stage 9.

"It's been an overwhelming three days [in the lead]," Hesjedal said before insisting his underlying form is exactly where he wants it to be.

"I felt good, it was a hard climb, but I was there pretty comfortably and there is still a long way to go to Milan. I can hope for more in the third week."

On top of that, as Hesjedal pointed out, with him either in the lead or battling to take it, Garmin-Barracuda has "done a lot of work and it's good to put that responsibility onto the shoulders of another team".

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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.