Victoria cycling fans aren’t the only ones sweet on Ryder Hesjedal as he enters Saturday’s Tour de France. The West Shore product briefly wore the red jersey earlier this month

Victoria cycling fans aren’t the only ones sweet on Ryder Hesjedal as he enters Saturday’s Tour de France. The West Shore product briefly wore the red jersey earlier this month

Garmin-Sharp and Victoria are sweet on Ryder

Ryder Hesjedal tops the list of Garmin-Sharp’s nine riders for the Tour de France, which were named in Corsica.

Here he goes again.

Ryder Hesjedal tops the list of Garmin-Sharp’s nine riders for the Tour de France, which were named Wednesday from the team’s hotel on the French island of Corsica.

The Tour opens with three stages on Corsica, beginning Saturday (June 29) from the picturesque city of Porto Vecchio, before moving to the mainland, where it will wrap the 3,404-kilometres in Paris on July 21.

Because it’s the 100th anniversary of the race, its route will run completely in France, though it has a history of looping stages through surrounding countries.

Hesjedal is once again the team’s go-to man and will be their ace to compete for the yellow jersey though up-and-coming American Andrew Talansky could be poised to make a surprise run at the maillot jaune.

“This is the strongest team we have ever had at the Tour de France, and my goal is the team performing at the highest level together,” Hesjedal said during the team’s press conference in Corsica on Thursday.

“Our goal as a team is to do the best we can as a team, we are strong and motivated and we’re going to animate the race.”

The Belmont secondary grad and former mountain biking Olympian is riding his success as the 2012 Giro d’Italia winner and sixth place finisher at the 2010 Tour de France. At 32, there is much time left for the skinny armed ‘preying mantis,’ as cycling commentators have described him, to win another Grand Tour.

Hesjedal is one of five Garmin-Sharp riders returning from Garmin-Cervelo’s  Tour de France team title in 2011. Joining Hesjedal are American veterans Christian Vande Velde and Tom Danielson, up-and-coming Lithuanian Ramunas Navardauskas and British time trial expert David Millar, who were all part of the 2011 team.

They make up the core of the team with Irishman Dan Martin, and will all be crucial to Hesjedal’s success in the hunt for yellow. Martin is enjoying a breakout season having won the French one-day classic Liege-Baston-Liege and Spanish stage-race Volta a Catalunya.

There is one notable exception, American sprinter Tyler Farrar, who is Garmin-Sharp’s only remaining stage winner from 2011. The sprinter hasn’t performed to the same standard this year and this was left off the team, which is built with hill climbers and general classification  riders.

The team is debuting three promising young cyclists with Talansky, Jack Bauer (New Zealand) and Rohan Dennis (Australia).

“We will protect our best general classification options and see how the race shakes out,” said Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin-Sharp CEO.

“Our approach is a little unconventional, but we’ve managed to come up with surprises every year at the Tour and we’re hoping for the same as we head into Corsica,” he said.

“We will aim to place high in the general classification. Ryder’s won (the Giro d’Italia) and placed top-10 in the Tour de France, (Talansky) is young and while it’s his first Tour de France, he is coming off a great season and Martin is having a breakout year.”

Questions do surround Hesjedal, as he’s withdrawn from three straight Grand Tours, having crashed out of the 2012 TdF and 2013 Tour de Suisse, and fallen ill during the 2013 Giro d’Italia.

All indications are that he’s fully recovered from the heavy blow to the neck and head he suffered in Switzerland earlier this month.

Hesjedal was banged up with cuts and contusions to the wrist, hip, shoulder, elbow and both knees.

“I have had great form all year, I had some bad luck with getting sick and crashing but my condition has been great and I am happy and excited to be here now and build on that condition.”

The Tour will be broadcast live each morning on TSN2.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

February 17, 2021 - Kaelyn (L) and Costin Campbell are Goldstream News Gazette 2021 Local Heroes.
Pint-sized duo inspires others to be green

Costin and Kaelyn Campbell are this year’s Environmental Heroes

Erin Oldman received a scholarship through Royal Roads University (RRU), called the Legacy Award, which is given out once every five years. Oldman graduated from RRU with a Masters of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding, and is using the award to establish a charity called International Humanitarian Assessments, which helps people in war-torn areas of the Middle East. (Photo contributed by Erin Oldman)
Royal Roads University graduate receives $25,000 award

Erin Oldman will use the award to establish a charity in the Middle East

Sandy Carmichael is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Seniors’ Champion. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Worker bee returns to volunteer: Sandy Carmichael a fixture at Langford Royal Canadian Legion

Sandy Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Seniors’ Champion Award

The It’s Critical campaign has raised $5.89 million towards its $7 million goal to expand critical care capacity at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Critical care improvements make the list with Greater Victoria shoppers

Save-On-Foods pledges $300,000 to Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s It’s Critical campaign

West Shore Parks and Recreation facilities face a challenging future in terms of funding, due to reduced operations throughout the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore Parks and Recreation faces challenging future

West Shore Parks and Recreation Society submits 2021 budget request to owner municipalities

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from BC Ferries staff

After Dasher made a dash, staff in Comox found her and got her home safe

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

Most Read