Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) will put his all-round skills to the test in this year’s Tour de France. The Canadian will provide help for Tyler Farrar and Christian Vande Velde, and also aim at a stage victory for himself.
“I got through the Tour du Suisse in good form considering the conditions and the way I started that race. When I got back to Girona I recovered well. You just have to make sure you recover and fine tune the feelings,” he told Cyclingnews.
Hesjedal has had a breakthrough year. Last autumn he won a stage in the Vuelta and in 2010 he has followed that up with a number of strong performances, including second in Amstel Gold and a stage win in the Amgen Tour of California.
So far he’s raced 45 days this season, roughly the same at this stage in 2009, except he has structured his year differently. “I’ve spread things out a little,” he said. “Last year I started at the Tour Down Under but this year I started later.”
His role in the team though could be pivotal for Garmin’s success, with himself and Dave Zabriskie in line to provide Vande Velde with solid support on the climbs.
However, should Vande Velde falter or the right opportunity arrive, Hesjedal is more than willing to take it. He showed his ambition during the Classics, attacking in Amstel Gold as well as the recent Tour de Suisse. “I’m here to contribute to the team’s objectives. We have a few interests in the race and everyone is going to be busy. One of the interests will be me getting a result in the right opportunity.”
“But in the mountains it’s going to be crucial to take care of Christian for as long as possible. Once it’s really going down there wont be too many guys there to help their leaders so I need to be there for as long as possible.”
“I’ve had consistency and I’ve been near the front in Pro Tour races this year. I was able to take a break right before the Tour of California and I’ve had to really great season so far.”