Ryder Hesjedal on Stage 2. The 'tall Canadian' is hanging with the leaders after Stage 5 on Thursday

Ryder Hesjedal on Stage 2. The 'tall Canadian' is hanging with the leaders after Stage 5 on Thursday

Tour de France 2012: Hesjedal steering clear of ‘carnage’ through Stage 4

Ryder Hesjedal holds eighth spot among Tour de France leaders after Stage 4

Ryder Hesjedal is doing it quietly, and avoiding the crashes.

The West Shore native has executed a solid first four stages of cycling on the Tour de France and is just 18 seconds back of yellow jersey holder Fabian Cancellara, tied for eighth overall.

Crashes plagued Stage 3 on Tuesday, thoroughly testing the resolve of Hesjedal’s team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda. While the pile-ups took down many of his teammates, the man from the West Shore narrowly escaped them, including the crash in the final stretch of Wednesday’s Stage 4.

“We had four guys go down (on Tuesday),” Garmin manager Jon Vaughters told Bicycling.com. “Basically, we didn’t have a particularly good day. By default … the team’s focus is going to have to be on the tall Canadian.”

It’s not ideal for Garmin, the defending team champions from 2011, which came in with a number of loose objectives.

But it’s incredibly exciting for the fans of Hesjedal, winner of the Giro d’Italia in May.

“It’s so complex, there’s so much going on at any given time,” said Seamus McGrath, a West Shore resident and a former national team road racer, and close friend of Hesjedal’s.

“Ryder’s looking really good, and though it’s early still, it’s important that he’s avoided some of the carnage in the first few stages.”

Hesjedal’s also been able to conserve energy ahead of the treacherous hill climbs that make-and-break Tour competitors.

“Ryder made it into the lead group (on Stage 3), and never did you see his nose in the wind, he just got sucked along (in the slipstream),” McGrath said. “He’s played a great tactical game.”

Going ahead, the strategy for Garmin is to protect Hesjedal and keep him within striking distance of the leaders.

“When they’re in the mountains, Christian Vande Velde, Tom Danielson and Robbie Hunter will be invaluable to set the pace and help bring back breakaways from dangerous riders,” McGrath explained.

The trio of elite cyclists, all of whom are capable of finishing top-10 on the Tour, will stay near the front of the peloton to catch breakaways involving any cyclists near or ahead of Hesjedal in the overall classification.

Looking ahead, the Tour’s Stage 7 on Saturday has several steep climbs along the  199-km route, ending with a six-kilometre, Cat. 1 (Cat. 4 being the easiest) hill.

sports@vicnews.com

 

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

Just Posted

A Nexii roof panel is lifted during construction of a Starbucks in Abbotsford. Alexzi Building Solutions will be building a manufacturing plant in Langford or North Cowichan to produce the sustainable construction panels. (Photo courtesy of Alexzi Building Solutions)
Langford eyed for facility to make green building alternative to concrete

Langford, North Cowichan possible sites for plant to create sustainable construction panels

Local MP Elizabeth May says the public has a right to know the identity of the company that plans to operate the massive warehouse proposed for Sidney on airport lands but residents who want to stop the project would probably have to go through the courts. (Black Press Media File)
MP Elizabeth May says public has right to know identity of Sidney warehouse operator

Residents wanting to stop the project would probably have to go through the courts, said May

Bukwila by Art Thompson, set at the steps of Lansdowne campus’ Wilna Thomas Cultural Centre, has been welcoming students to campus since 1997. (Photo courtesy of Camosun College)
World-renowned artist’s legacy lives on at Camosun College

Art Thompson made untold contributions toward Indigenous education, art and advocacy

Did you know, according to the CRD, every person produces an average of 185–200 litres of wastewater per day? Here’s where most of it gets treated, at the new wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt. (CRD image)
View Royal signs on to wastewater funding plan

Capital Regional District requesting to borrow up to $34.3 million to upgrade infrastructure

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Island Health has confirmed COVID-19 exposures at Ecole des Deux Mondes in Campbell River on May 4 and 5, and at Mill Bay Nature School in Mill Bay on April 28, 29, 30 and May 3. (Metro Creative photo)
Two new COVID-19 school exposures confirmed by Island Health

Health authority contacting anyone exposed at Ecole des Deux Mondes, Mill Bay Nature School

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Most Read