Hesjedal set to return to Canada as Giro champion

Garmin rider to return home for the first time since winning the Giro and will refocus for a run a worlds

Ryder Hesjedal is set to return home to Canada for the first time since becoming the country’s first grand tour winner at the Giro d’Italia in May.

Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) will return home to British Columbia for the first time since February. Canada’s first grand tour winner is looking forward to a homecoming ceremony in his hometown of Victoria.

“I am going to get home and reset and rebuild for the Canadian [WorldTour] races,” said Hesjedal. “Hopefully that will carry me in the worlds.”

In September, Hesjedal will contest the world championships for the first time since 2009. He was second behind Philippe Gilbert at the Amstel Gold Race in 2010. The worlds course finishes similarly to the Dutch classic, atop the Cauberg climb.

“I have ran well at Amstel before, so I am looking forward to that, and then finish off the season at [Giro del] Piemonte and [Giro di] Lombardia,” he said.

Victoria will welcome Hesjedal with an event at Centennial Square on August 10.

“I have overwhelming support back there [in Victoria]. I haven’t been back there to share it; it will be cool,” said Hesjedal. “It’s nice to have the recognition. It’s flattering. You work hard and you put in the time, if that gets people excited and people want to recognize that, that’s what it’s all about. Good times all around.”

Hesjedal started the Olympic time trial as Canada’s lone rider on Wednesday. Saturday’s road race was his first start since abandoning the Tour after crashing hard at the end of the first week.

“The Giro’s been keeping me going,” he said. “It was hard to leave the Tour the way I did. I knew I could have been there and had a good ride. My ride in the Giro kept my head on. I was able to get right into training and stay focused. Now I can focus on the one-day races and finish it off strong.”