Ryder Hesjedal became the first Canadian to win a grand tour at the Giro d’Italia in May and several months on he doesn’t seem fazed by having to defend it against the reigning Tour and Vuelta champions, Bradley Wiggins and Alberto Contador.
“The more the merrier,” Hesjedal said when asked about the potential battle.
“You want to be able to beat everyone possible. I’m the defending champion and I’ll go there with the number one bib and do the best I can, to do that again. I know that I’ve got the 2012 Giro in my pocket.”
When Hesjedal went into this year’s race he wasn’t even considered one of the favourites, but secured the win in the final time trial. The defending champion believes his 2012 win will help him beat Wiggins and Contador, “I have that luxury and confidence that I was able to get through a Giro like that this year and win. It does a lot, when you’re training and wrapping your head around the next challenge.”
Next year’s route throws up seven mountain finishes, with no opening prologue. “I’m excited, it looks good,” Hesjedal said of the route. “I think it is a very balanced route and demanding right from the start. That is something I need, I need a very taxing race throughout.”
Tour de France champion Wiggins has already shown interest in participating in the race. His last appearance at the Corsa Rosa was 2010, where he held the leader’s jersey for a stage. Contador is still on the fence about competing, with his sights also set on the 2013 Tour de France. Vincenzo Nibali has also thrown his hat into the ring of Giro contenders.
No doubt the key battle will be in the time trial, with 88km of racing against the clock. Wiggins has showed he is king of the individual event this season. While, Hesjedal will be quietly confident of Garmin’s performance in the team time trial on stage 2. The four way tussle for pink should provide fans with an exciting race.
Delivered to your iPad every Wednesday, Cycling News HD brings you the best all-new cycling photography in the world via the best medium for viewing it, as well as reports, results and exclusive analysis of all the week’s biggest races, in-depth previews of the races and stages to watch in the week ahead, interviews, news and opinion.