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Canadian Ryder Hesjedal Riding with the Big Boys in Stage 8, Tour de France

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Canadian Ryder Hesjedal, riding in only his third Tour is beginning to show he can ride with the race favorites. Until yesterdays first mountain stage, it was not confirmed that Hesjedal had the tool kit to stay at the top of the overall standings in the most elite cycling race in the world. He answered yesterday with a loud YES! In a tougher than expected stage 7, not only did Ryder Hesjedal stay with the leaders in a mountain stage, he gained on them – rising from 4th to 3rd overall!

Tour de France: Top 7 Individual Standings after Stage 7

Tour de France: Top 7 Individual Standings after Stage 7

To “ride with the big boys” you need to be a well rounded cyclist, you need to be amongst the best in all aspects of road racing:

  • Sprint – must be able to remain near the leaders in overall time,  in stages that favour sprint specialists.
  • Climb – be amongst the best mountain climbers.
  • Team – 9 riders must work as one.
  • Endurance – it’s 21 races with in one, three week race.
  • Head in the game – must be able to adjust your strategy in high stress moments.

How has Ryder gotten to this point? Here’s a handy table I made that makes his skill set clearer…

Ryder Hesjeal’s Tour de France, Stage by Stage

Stage Finish
Time behind stage winner
Standing Overall
+ 00′ 46″
18th best time
Stage 1
+ 00′ 00″
1st group
Stage 2
+ 03′ 56″
2nd group
three category 3 & 4 hills
Stage 3
+ 00′ 00″
1st group
cobblestones, one category 4 hill
Stage 4
+ 00′ 00″
1st group
flat, one category 4 hill
Stage 5
+ 00′ 00″
1st group
flat, two category 4 hills
Stage 6
+ 00′ 03″
2nd group
long, flat, four category 4 hills
Stage 7
+ 01′ 47″
5th group

Today’s High Mountain stage will answer the question, can Ryder Hesjedal stay with the group of great climbers, that elite that he is riding with as I write this?

8:49 AM EDT Sunday, July 11, 2010

The race is 10 km past the half way mark, about a half an hour away from the first Category 1 climb of the 2010 Tour de France:

Tour de France LIVE Stage 8 Ryder Hesjedal riding in 13th place

Tour de France LIVE Stage 8 Ryder Hesjedal riding in 13th place

Today, Ryder Hesjedal is pacing himself towards the first big climb. To do this he has positioned himself in amongst the riders who are favorites to win this stage, who are at the tip of the Peloton. This group has remained pretty well in this order all morning:

  1. -
  2. -
  3. -
  4. -
  5. -
  6. -
  7. -
  8. Andy Schleck
  9. Jerome Pineau
  10. Thor Hushovd
  11. Sylvain Chavanel
  12. Cadel Evans
  13. Ryder Hesjedal
  14. Alexander Vinokourov
  15. Alberto Contador
  16. Jurg Van Der Broeck
  17. Nicolas Roche
  18. Johar Van Summeran
  19. Denis Menchov
  20. Bradley Wiggins
  21. Roman Kreuziger
  22. Luis-Leon Sanchez
  23. Lance Armstrong

(A breakaway of 7 riders is several minutes ahead)

This is Lance Armstrong strategy; you stay near the front of the Peloton in a position to avoid crashes and in a place that doesn’t leave a gaggle of riders to pass as the steep grades begin, plus you can judge the capabilities, the ‘feel’ of when the elite climbers around you may make their move so you can draft with them up the climb.

We shall soon see if Ryder Hesjedal is the world class High Mountain climber he seems to think he is…

10:24 Ryder Hesjedal staying with the main group! He’s in 11th place at the top of the first of the two Category 1 climbs of today’s stage.

Ryder Hesjedal staying with the lead group in 9th

Ryder Hesjedal staying with the main group in 11th

Half way up the 2nd big climb of the day, the Morzine-Avoriaz, a 13.6 km Category 1 climb, Ryder Hesjedal fell off the lead group, team Astana who were protecting Alberto Contador. As you can see in the first Canadian Cyclist table below, Hesjedal fell off the group that finished 0:10. In an interview published in Canadian Cyclist (July 11/10 12:01 pm – Tour de France: Stage 8) he said he realized he couldn’t maintain the pace they’d set, he was flustered but then re-grouped with-in himself.

He said that he thought to himself (I paraphrase), ‘if I try to catch them again I could fall right out of the entire race’, so he set up a rhythm he thought he could sustain (riding tempo), and raced against himself for the last 7km of the climb.

It worked! He remains amongst the elites in the 2010 Tour de France, in 6th place.

Two tables from “Canadian Cyclist” Magazine article. Canadians are in bold.

(I added Lance Armstrong and corrected some coding errors – imho.)

Stage 8: Station des Rousses to Morzine-Avoriaz, 189 km

1 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 4:54:11
2 Samuel Sánchez (Esp) Euskaltel – Euskadi at s.t.
3 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 0:10
4 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo
5 Alberto Contador (Esp) Astana
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
7 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
8 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack
9 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo
10 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
11 Carlos Sastre (Esp) Cervelo Test Team all s.t.
12 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team HTC – Columbia 0:20
13 Joaquin Rodriguez Olivier (Esp) Team Katusha 0:39
14 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin – Transitions 1:14
15 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quick Step 1:14
16 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team Radioshack 1:14
17 Ruben Plaza Molina (Esp) Caisse d’Epargne 1:37
18 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Sky 1:45
19 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky s.t.
20 Anthony Charteau (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 2:05
116 Michael Barry (Can) Team Sky 27:49

GC (General Classification)

1 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 37:57:09
2 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank at 0:20
3 Alberto Contador (Esp) Astana 1:01
4 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 1:03
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 1:10
6 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin – Transitions 1:11
39 Lance Armstrong (USA) Team RadioShack 13:26
107 Michael Barry (Can) Team Sky 48:00

Tour de France: Overall Standings after Stage 8.


Posted: July 11th, 2010
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