Ryder Hesjedal will head to the Tour of Beijing with a team capable of contesting the overall and also hunting stages victories on the day’s suited to the sprinters. Hesjedal and Dan Martin will focus on being competitive on the more selective stages while Heinrich Haussler will look to depart Garmin-Sharp and enter the off-season on a high by taking a stage win.
It’s been a long season for Hesjedal and Haussler who both began their year with Tour Down Under in Australia but despite already taking a historic victory at the Giro d’Italia Hesjedal says he’s extremely motivated for the second edition of the event which begins on 9 October.
"If I made it through the Tour (de France) and had my normal schedule I probably would have stopped after Montréal like the last couple of years but I left the Tour after only getting a week in and only having the Olympics left me a little short of race days through August," said Hesjedal from his hotel in Beijing.
"I started the season at Down Under and it’s almost been like two seasons in a way," said the Canadian Hesjedal.
Beijing will be Haussler’s final WorldTour race with the team managed by Jonathan Vaughters as he begins next season with the newly announced IAM Cycling team. Haussler will also hope to finish his season on the top step of the podium in a stage - something he last did at the Tour of Beijing in 2011. The Australian has come agonisingly close on multiple occasions; finishing on the podium at Volta ao Algarve, GP Ouest Plouay and Eneco Tour but has missed out on getting the win.
After a strong ride in difficult conditions at Giro di Lombardia where he finished sixth, Hesjedal is hoping that the team will be in the mix for the general classification. Teammate Dan Martin has also showed his condition when he finished 16th at Lombardia and will enter the race will the general classification and stage victories on the agenda.
"Some of the riders that are here, that shows they are hoping that there is some selection in the GC on some days and that will shape the race for the overall," Hesjedal said.
"We have Dan Martin and myself who can be there on the hilly selective days so we’ll see if we can be part of that.
"On the days for the sprinters we’ll be looking to set up Heinrich, so I definitely think the team is suited to whatever the race has for us."
Garmin-Sharp's line-up for Tour of Beijing includes: Thomas Dekker (Ned), Alex Howes (USA), Christophe LeMevel (Fra), Johan Vansummeren (Bel) and Fabian Wegmann (Ger).