Ryder Hesjedal is going to the London Olympics.
The Giro d’Italia winner was among the remaining members named to Canada’s Olympic cycling team today.
Hejsedal takes Canada’s only qualified spot in the men’s road race and time trial, while Canada named the women to the road cycling events, Clara Hughes, Joëlle Numainville and Denise Ramsden.
Hesjedal was the national mountain bike champion before he went pro as a road cyclist with team Discovery Channel in 2005. He joined the Garmin pro team in 2008 and that year he was the first Canadian to ride in the Tour de France and was 16th the time trial and 54th in the road race of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
“I am honoured and excited to represent Canada in the Olympic Games,” Hesjedal said in a statement. “It’s my hope that the sport of cycling continues to grow in Canada and that the spirit of the Olympics shines an even greater spotlight on it.”
Hesjedal is currently training in Europe, likely tapering, as he prepares for perhaps the most grueling race of his career, the Tour de France. Hesjedal is trying to become the first cyclist since 1998 to win both the Gio and Tour in the same year.
Hesjedal leads Garmin-Barracuda at the 2012 Tour de France
Team Garmin-Barracuda also announced its much-anticipated 2012 Tour de France roster on Thursday. The defending team champions of the 2011 Tour de France listed Hesjedal as the headliner for the 2012 event, above 2011 top-ten finisher Tom Danielson and a two-time top-ten finisher, Christian Vande Velde.
Crash problems early in the 2011 Tour kept Hesjedal and Vande Velde from the lead group in the general classification.
“We have put together a well-balanced team with an emphasis on support for our leader, Ryder. We have Christian and Tom, both excellent climbers who each have had great GC rides in the Tour and have shown their strength in recent racing. Dan Martin, making his Tour debut, rounds out the climbers of the team,” said Allan Peiper, director of competition for Team Garmin-Barracuda.
Time trial experts David Zabriskie and David Millar will feature in the three individual time trials of the race and will also provide support both in the mountains and on the flats. Top American sprinter and previous Tour stage winner, Tyler Farrarm, will also be in the hunt for stage wins. South African national champion and Tour stage winner Robbie Hunter, Dan Martin and Johan Vansummeren round out the team.
“The climbers will have the support of time trial specialists David Millar and David Zabriskie along with Johan Vansummeren, who will also be able to help out sprinters Farrar and Hunter in the quest for stage wins.”