Ryder Hesjedal may have lost his chance to challenge for the overall lead at the Vuelta a Espana, but the Canadian Garmin-Sharp rider made his mark on the 2014 race with a win on one of its toughest stages.
“I came here to ride for the general classification but that went out of the window pretty early, so from that point on it was a matter of looking after Dan (Martin) as much as possible and looking for any stage opportunities where we can – I think we can do both.
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“I won my first Grand Tour stage here at the Vuelta back in 2009 so it was pretty cool to win here again, I’m super pleased to get the job done here today. I’ve still got a lot of passion for racing and for pushing myself and I’m under contract with Garmin Sharp for next year too.”
Hesjedal also gave his response to a news reports related to a widely-circulated video clip that many believed showed his bike was motorised. “Well, let’s say I think I’ll like the headline that I’ll get tomorrow more,” though he was clearly not happy at the story that had appeared online in Marca and L’Equipe.
“When people start making up stuff like that I think it’s a bit embarrassing if you’re a media outlet and that’s your job? The way they twist things it’s ridiculous, the wording they use, it’s just sad really. I mean, why put that into the equation in our sport? It’s just uncalled for… yeah, you know, there are a few other things I’d like to say but it’s probably not worth it.”
Tinkoff-Saxo rider Oliver Zaugg attacked and got a decent gap on the steep incline of La Camperona, looking, in fact, that he had the stage in the bag, but the former Giro winner kept his head.
“I was a bit angry at first when he attacked, I know how cycling works, he had had a pretty easy ride all day, sitting on because he had Contador in the race lead, so when he attacked I just dug deep and rode at my rhythm. I was pretty motivated to chase and I know it’s easier on a climb like that to have someone to chase down. In the end I got a good run at him, lined it up perfect and finished it off.”
Ryder Hesjedal grinds out win on steep final climb as Chris Froome gains time on rivals
Internet video clip of Garmin rider Ryder Hesjedal’s stage seven Vuelta crash led to stories of his ‘motorised’ Cervelo