Ryder Hesjedal or Joaquin Rodriguez, the leader’s jersey at the Giro d’Italia keeps switching back and forth between the two. One day after team Garmin’s Hesjedal re-gained the lead, Katusha’s Rodriguez got it back for himself in Pian dei Resinelli.
“It’s clear that he’s in good shape,” Hesjedal said. “We got quite the little battle shaping up here.”
The 31-year-old Canadian spoke with Cycling Weekly and a handful of journalists surrounded by the rocky cliffs that tower above the small ski resort and, more than 1,000 metres below, Lecco and Lake Como. He just finished the 171-kilometre stage wet, tired and 39 seconds after Spain’s Rodriguez.
Rodriguez launched an attack 1,200 metres out, distanced himself from Hesjedal and favourites Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale), Roman Kreuziger (Astana) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD). He now leads Hesjedal by 30 seconds and the others by around a minute and a half.
“Ryder is right there. In the Tour of 2010, he passed me in the final time trial, I was eighth and he was fifth. He’s a very dangerous rider,” Rodriguez told the press, minutes later, after accepting his pink jersey.
“We’ll see who is the strongest in the final week. Right now, the strongest is me.”
Hesjedal speaks as he rides, slowly, but with precise measure. After a rest day tomorrow, he hopes to ride back into the pink jersey for the third and final time. The race restarts on Tuesday, climbs into Alto Adige and offers more chances for him.
“I can’t get sucked in to trying to accelerate with those guys like that,” Hesjedal continued. “I didn’t feel that good. If I can get through today like I did, not feeling good… If today was my bad day, then ah, I’m happy with that.”
Giro d’Italia 2012: Latest news
Giro d’Italia 2012: Live coverage
Giro d’Italia 2012: Stage reports
Stage 15: Rabottini takes tough win in Giro
Stage 14: Amador wins Giro’s first high mountain stage as Hesjedal reclaims lead
Stage 13: Cavendish makes it three
Stage 12: Bak attacks to win
Stage 11: Ferrari wins Giro stage on ride to redemption
Stage 10: Rodriguez wins thrilling finale to take lead
Stage nine: Ventoso wins in Frosinone as Goss and Cavendish fall
Stage eight: Pozzovivo takes another Giro win
Stage seven: Hesjedal moves into Giro lead
Stage six: Rubiano solos to epic Giro stage win
Stage five: Cavendish bounces back for another stage win
Stage four: Garmin-Barracuda win TTT to take lead
Stage three: Goss wins in Horsens as Cavendish and Phinney crash
Stage two: Cavendish wins in Herning
Stage one: Phinney wins time trial
Giro d’Italia 2012: Photo galleries
Giro d’Italia 2012: Teams and riders
Giro d’Italia 2012: TV guide