Ryder Hesjedal will stay in a Garmin-Transitions kit through 2013. The Canadian is poised for a top-10 overall at the Tour de France and he wants to stay where he’s most comfortable.
“I’m very happy with this team. It’s a big reason why I am here today,” Hesjedal told a handful of journalists during Wednesday’s rest day. “I’m the most focused I’ve ever been. I’m comfortable on this team. I’ve been here since ‘day one.’ I’ve tried to step up a level each year. The team gave me that luxury to have that security.”
Hesjedal is poised for a run at the top-10 and is keen to pay back Garmin for the trust the squad had placed in him. The former mountain bike racer is 10th overall at 7:58 back and hopes to end tucked inside the top-10 when the Tour ends in Paris on Sunday.
“Top-10 is a nice even number, but if I am 12th or 14th, it’s still not bad, especially if you look at the riders in the top-20 of this race,” he said said stage 17’s summit finish on “the Tourmalet is going to be very hard. I just need to ride the best that I can.”
Garmin-Transitions sport director Matt White said Hesjedal has proven he deserves a spot among the elite of the sport.
“He’s a good guy to have around,” White said about Hesjedal. “He’s our top points earner. He’s consistent right through the entire season. He’s never bad. He’s super-consistent all season long. Last year, he was solid from the Tour Down Under all the way through Lombardia.”
White said Hesjedal has stepped up to help fill the void created by the departure of Christian Vande Velde, Garmin’s GC leader who crashed out in the first week.
“Nobody expected Ryder to be hanging around the top 10,” White said. “To be honest, if Christian were still in the race, he wouldn’t have had the opportunity. When Christian and Tyler crashed out, I told the other guys they can step up. Ryder has certainly done that.”