We don't typically cover much from the spandex-clad skinny tire set, but Ryder Hesjedal is more than worthy of a mention here. Born in Victoria BC, the young Ryder got a sponsored ride on the powerful Gary Fisher Pro Team when XC racers were the rock stars of the sport. Good looking and talented, Hesjedal dressed to the nines, drove fancy cars and earned second-place finishes in three UC World Championships, first as a junior in 1998, then as a U23 in 2001, and another Silver Medal in 2003.
After a disappointing flat and DNF in the barbecue-hot Athens Olympics, the Canadian XC racer refocused and switched to road racing, where he paid his dues as domestique, working for top earners on a number of Pro-Tour teams. After his first stage win in 2009 in the Vuelta de Espana, Hesjedal cranked it up, scoring further victories and earning the coveted red ‘Most Combative’ jersey a number of times.
It was the 2012 Giro, however, that will forever etch 31-year-old Ryder Hesjedal into the annals of cycling. His victory at this most revered classic – second only to the Tour de France – was a first for Canada and a must-win for any international road racer who aspires to greatness. Ryder attacked and crushed his nearest rivals on the last climbing stage on the Alpe di Pampeago, and then wrested the overall lead in the final time trial to win the overall by 16 seconds. We expect more good things to come from the Canadian Garmin/Barracuda racer in the future and will be watching him in this year’s Tour de France. Congratulations Ryder!