Ryder Hesjedal fights the climb of the historic Col du Galibier from Italy's Pinerolo on stage 18

Ryder Hesjedal fights the climb of the historic Col du Galibier from Italy's Pinerolo on stage 18

Tour de France: Tour ends with Hesjedal 18th, Garmin-Cervelo the top team

Australian Cadel Evans wins 2011 Tour de France, Ryder Hesjedal 18th overall

The 2011 Tour de France ended Sunday (July 24) with Victoria’s Ryder Hesjedal 18th overall.

Hesjedal’s Garmin-Cervelo team wins as the fastest team on the Tour. As a result the team’s riders split a reward of $50,000 Euros ($68,000).

The 21st stage featured 2011 winner Cadel Evans sipping champagne in the yellow jersey before the sprinters broke ahead in contest for the green jersey as points leader. That award went to Britain’s Mark Cavendish, whose raw power on the flats is equal to his candor during interviews.

Hesjedal cruised into the historic Champs-Élysées finish-line with the peloton but 140th. He completed the 3,430-kilometres trek in 86 hours, 39 minutes and 36 seconds. His time was 27 minutes, 14 seconds back of Evans and just two seconds back of Garmin-Cervelo teammate Christian Vande Valde (17th).

Multiple crashes early in the Tour kept Hesjedal and other top prospects from competing for the overall title. But his ability as the elite world-class cyclist who finished seventh at the 2010 Tour de France was visible once again. Hesejdal was instrumental in guiding teammates Tom Danielson to ninth overall and Tyler Farrar and Thor Hushovd each to a stage win (both Farrar and Hushovd nearly won two stages).

Hesjedal did all this while managing to crack in the top-20. Late in the Tour Hesjedal came close to stage wins, letting up in the final 50-metres of Hushovd’s stage 16 win, while losing gas on a valiant attempt up the sheer incline that ended stage 18. He was third and tenth in those respective stages.

It was Hesjedal’s fourth complete Tour as only 167 of 198 cyclists completed it this year. David Zabriskie was the only Garmin-Cervelo member forced out of the Tour.

In 2008 and 2009 Hesjedal was 49 and 47, before jumping to seventh overall.