Garmin-Sharp sports director Charly Wegelius has said that Ryder Hesjedal’s aggressive performance on both sides of Monday’s final climb, which ended with a third place and bonus seconds gained, was both a way of ensuring that there were no unpleasant late surprises and a way of gaining time on his rivals.
Hesjedal has shown, too, that he is in excellent shape for the 2013 Giro.
Speaking to Cyclingnews on Tuesday morning, Wegelius said “it was important, it was really more of a safety exercise to be honest. By doing the descent in front, he could choose his own line, of course you spend energy but you spend energy gaining something rather than chasing people down.”
On top of that, “You can see from [Michele] Scarponi’s crash”- which cost the Lampre leader around 40 seconds “that if a guy is going to crash on the more narrow part of the road, it can block the way.”
“So that was the main idea, it worked out well, and gave the team a lot of morale.”
Third at the finish, too, behind Luca Paolini (Katusha) was an added benefit. “Ok, it’s just some seconds, but the race won by 16 last year, it’s not like they don’t count,” he said.
As for today’s final second category climb, Wegelius said “I’ve looked at it on the Garmin Connect and the main feature of the climb is the downhill afterwards. It’s not a climb that’s going to decide the Giro, but it will show up anybody who hasn’t got their papers in order.” Or as the time-honoured cliche puts it, the climb is not one where you can win the Giro, but it is one where you can lose it.
“The fact that the climb comes after so much racing and so many kilometres will make it do some more damage. Also further down the line, you’ll maybe see somebody having a crisis because it chips away at your energy day like today, and then they pay for it later.”
Someone who will be digging a little deeper than other big names perhaps, is Garmin-Sharp’s David Millar, injured on the first day of the Giro in a late crash.
“He’s sore,” said Wegelius, “he had a tough time yesterday (stage three), but that’s to be expected. Often third day is the worst after the crash, it’s the way your body reacts. The thing is with Dave, that he has got so much experience he knows how he can ride the Giro stages and get through them, I’m sure he’ll come round.”
Wegelius agrees that for the GC teams, Katusha having the leader’s jersey is a good option because the team is strong but unlikely to be in the fight for the overall. “It’s like when Liquigas ‘gave’ Telekom the lead a few years back . It’s a team that’s strong and motivated, and they will fight for the maglia as hard as they can.” He also said “Paolini could win again - there are more stages which will suit him.
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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.
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