Ryder Hesjedal kept pace with the attacking wonder-climber Nairo Quintana (not shown)

Ryder Hesjedal kept pace with the attacking wonder-climber Nairo Quintana (not shown)

Hesjedal catching wind in Giro

Victoria's Ryder Hesjedal made up huge ground on Tuesday by keeping pace with race favourite Nairo Quintana, as the latter won Stage 16

Victoria’s Ryder Hesjedal made up huge ground on Tuesday by keeping pace with race favourite Nairo Quintana, as the latter won Stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia.

For Quintana, the successful challenge won him the stage and the rights to wear the vaunted Maglia Rosa (pink jersey) for Stage 17 tomorrow (May 28). The powerful Colombian proved to be the race favourite he is, challenging all comers on the intimidating climbs from Ponte di Legno to Martello.

Hesjedal held on despite several attempts by Quintana to drop the fighting veteran. In the end, Hesjedal nearly challenged Quintana for the stage, as Hesjedal finished eight seconds back.

The major effort by Hesjedal puts the Belmont secondary graduate into the top-10 from his 11th overall spot at the start of Stage 16. (Hesjedal’s exact placing will be calculated and updated shortly.)

It’s likely the greatest day for Hesjdedal since winning the 2012 Giro d’Italia. The hard-luck former champion was forced out of the 2012 Tour de France, and 2013 Giro and Tour due to crashes and illnesses.