Ryder Hesjedal made his own history on the Col du Tourmalet today, 100 years after the Tour de France first introduced the pass. His ride through the rain, cold and mist was enough to see him jump up the classification, ready to be the best-placed Canadian since Steve Bauer's fourth in 1988
in when the race ends on Sunday
"It was drama plus," team Garmin-Transitions' Hesjedal explained. "I was not surprised with the day, the whole Tour has been tough. I knew it was going to add to the epic day."
The 174-kilometre sateg, covering four high mountain passes, was the Tour's first cold and rainy day this year. Hesjedal did not really seem to mind, he stuck with his direct rivals after Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck rode ahead to the win. Hesjedal, though, dropped Levi Leipheimer and Alexandre Vinokourov to jump from 10th to eighth overall.
The only final test that remains is a 52-kilometre time trial on Saturday and a chance for him to finish seventh or sixth overall in Paris on Sunday.
"We came here to win a stage with Tyler Farrar and get a top ten with Christian Vande Velde," said sports director, Matt White. "We got one of those two even with both of those guys watching the race at home on television."
The two were forced to abandon after they crashed during stage two to Spa. Hesjedal stepped up, though, and has been the star of the American team at the Tour de France.
White believes more is possible in Saturday's time trial.
"He can pick off Joaquin Rodriguez for seventh."
Hesjedal is 9'18" behind leader Contador and 2'15" behind Spain's Rodriguez.
"I feel good and the longer TT will suit me," Hesjedal continued. "I feel the best I felt in the whole Tour, which is a good signal with the crono coming up."
Tour de France 2010: Latest news
Armstrong has his last go in the Tour
Tour's points leader Petacchi investigated for doping
Contador issues video apology to Schleck
Millar searches horizon for Eiffel Tower
Schleck-Contador friendship turns sour after chain problem
Wiggins at 2010 Tour: "I haven't got it"
Basso wins Tour's acceptance; podium spot next goal
Contador versus Schleck: A game of seconds
Can Cav win without Renshaw?
Hesjedal pushing his way to the Tour's top
Renshaw disqualification overshadows Cavendish's win
Charly Wegelius pulls out of Tour
Did Armstrong own a stake in Tailwind Sports, or not?
Cavendish in a 'must win' situation for Tour's green jersey
Millar rides through pain barrier to make time cut
Roche alongside Tour's top men ahead of Pyrenees
Wiggins to aim for Tour de France stage win?
Dan Lloyd battles on in Tour despite groin strain
Tour de France 2010: Stage reports
Stage 17: Schleck wins on the Tourmalet but cannot shake off Contador
Rest day review (July 21)
Stage 16: Fedrigo takes tough Pyrenean stage
Stage 15: Victorious Voeckler continues fine Franch Tour as Contador takes yellow jersey
Stage 14: Riblon hangs on in Pyrenees to give France fourth stage win
Stage 13: Vino returns to top of Tour after doping ban
Stage 12: Rodriguez wins as Contador attacks
Stage 11: Cavendish bags third stage win but lead out man kicked out of Tour
Stage 10: Cavendish bags third stage win but his lead-out man is kicked out of race
Stage 10: Paulinho claims narrow stage victory on Bastille day
Stage nine: Casar wins stage as Schleck and Contador go head-to-head
Stage seven: Chavanel wins stage and takes overall as Thomas drops out of Tour's white
Stage six: Cavendish makes it two as Tour hots up
Stage five: Cavendish wins his first stage of Tour
Stage four: Petacchi wins into Reims
Stage three: Hushovd takes dramatic win; Thomas second on stage and GC
Stage three live coverage: As it happened
Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa
Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters
Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win
Tour de France 2010: Photos
Stage 15 photo gallery
Stage 14 photo gallery
Stage 13 photo gallery
Stage 12 photo gallery
Stage 11 photo gallery
Stage 10 photo gallery
Stage nine photo gallery
Stage eight photo gallery
Tour 2010 wallpaper
Stage seven photo gallery
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one gallery
Prologue photo gallery
Tour de France 2010: Videos
Stage 16 video highlights
Stage 15 video highlights
Stage 14 video highlights
Stage 13 video highlights
Stage 12 video highlights
Stage 11 video highlights
Stage 10 video highlights
Stage nine video highlights
Stage eight video highlights
Stage seven video highlights
Stage six video highlights
Stage five video highlights
Stage four video highlights
Stage three video highlights
Stage two video highlights
Stage one video highlights
Prologue video highlights
Tour de France 2010: Race guide
Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
Official start list, with race numbers
Brits at the Tour 2010
Tout team guide
Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins
Tour de France 2010: Pictures
Tour team presentation, Rotterdam
Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special
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