SUPER-BESSE, France (VN) ─ Ryder Hesjedal faced the cruel reality of the results sheet Friday evening and admitted the obvious: his GC chances are all but cooked.
The Canadian was swept up in Friday’s disastrous crash that ended the Tour de France for Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Chris Horner (RadioShack). Luckily, Hesjedal was not seriously injured and he was able to start Saturday’s stage to Super-Besse, but he ceded 3:06 and slipped to 48th at 4:28 back.
“My GC ambitions are pretty much over as VdV (Christian Vande Velde) and Tom (Danielson) are looking good,” Hesjedal told VeloNews. “I will continue to support the many objectives the team still has.”
Last year, Hesjedal rode to seventh overall at the Tour to score the best Canadian finish since Steve Bauer was fourth in 1988. The ex-mountain biker quickly earned the moniker “Weight of a Nation” and rolled into this year’s Tour hoping to ride into the top-10 again. Hesjedal lost time in the opening stage after getting caught behind the same crash as Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard), but helped power Garmin-Cervélo to victory in the team time trial.
Always a team player, Hesjedal was back fetching water bottles when he was caught in the massive pileup that also derailed teammate Tyler Farrar with about 40km to go.
“I crashed pretty hard in that mess, getting taken out from behind while trying to avoid guys,” Hesjedal explained. “I did a front flip into the ditch right behind Tyler. I was a carrying a back full of bottles and landed right on my back. I got some serious deep-tissue bruising on my upper spine and ribs. … I fared better than some, though. Crazy Tour!”
Garmin-Cervélo team boss Jonathan Vaughters said earlier that the team’s goals are to place one rider in the top-10 as well as hunt for stage victories in breakaways in the second half of the Tour. Perhaps the lost time could have a silver lining for Hesjedal and other riders won’t see him as a GC threat, thus allowing him some space to go on the attack for a stage victory.
Danielson and Vande Velde are both at 1:57 back at 25th and 26th, respectively. Danielson is making his Tour debut and told VeloNews earlier this week that he has “the form of my life.”