TOUR DE FRANCE: Hills of stage 12 take toll but team still gets one in top-10

Hills of stage 12 take toll but Garmin-Cervelo still gets one in top-10

Ryder Hesjedal was a horse on Wednesday's stage 11 by pacing the peloton and helping teammate Tyler Farrar nearly win. Farrar was third while Hesjedal dropped into the middle of the pack but finished with the a share of the lead time.

Ryder Hesjedal was a horse on Wednesday's stage 11 by pacing the peloton and helping teammate Tyler Farrar nearly win. Farrar was third while Hesjedal dropped into the middle of the pack but finished with the a share of the lead time.

Dimming is the lust of Garmin-Cervelo’s dominant first week on the 2011 Tour de France.

Reigning world champion Thor Hushovd, who wore the yellow jersey for seven days, dropped 33 minutes in the challenging hills of stage 12 on Thursday, 211 kilometres from Cugnaux to Luz-Ardiden.

Stage 12 featured the Tourmalet climb midway through the stage, breaking apart the peloton.

Ryder Hesjedal fell nearly four minutes on the day. The Canadian riding a Canadian-made bike (Cervelo) crossed the line three minutes and 57 seconds back, 29th overall.

B.C.’s man on the tour is now 18 minutes and 39 seconds back of overall leader Thomas Voeckler (Fra.) in 38th position.

For the second day in a row Hesjedal was a horse, using his effectiveness to help rookie and current team-leader Tom Danielson (U.S.) to 11th on the day. Spanish rider Samuel Sanchez won the stage, pleasing the region’s Basque cycling fans.

Hesjedal rode well to support Danielson until the day’s final climb up the 13.3km Luz-Ardiden summit. Danielson was one minute and three seconds back of Sanchez and is ninth overall.

“I’ve been really beaten up these past few days, so I was happy to get over the Tourmalet and be there for Tom,” Hesjedal said in the team’s daily report.

“Tom’s riding great, we just need to be around him and support him best as possible. He showed it today. I was there for him in the last four Ks of this final climb. Based on how I felt the last few days, I was happy with what I was able to do what I could today.”

Short of a dramatic breakaway in the hills over the coming days Hesjedal is out as a top-10 candidate for Garmin-Cervelo, though Danielson is looking stronger as the tour continues.

As for Hesjedal, Victoria’s four-year veteran of the tour still has the chance to win a stage in the hills.

His part in the team time trial trophy on stage 2 made Hesjedal the first Canadian to win a stage in all three big tours, France, Italy and Spain.

– with files from the Garmin-Cervelo team report