After making the selection with the yellow jersey group over the top of the hors categorie Port de Pailhères climb, Ryder Hesjedal settled into his own tempo on the final climb up to the finish at Ax 3 Domaines. In doing so, he finished ahead of four big names ahead of him on GC — Liquigas’ Ivan Basso and Roman Kreuziger, Astana’s Alexander Vinokourov and Caisse d’Eparnge’s Luis Leon Sanchez.
Hesjedal finished 12th on the day, just behind RadioShack’s Levi Leipheimer.
Was he pleased with his result? “Big time.”
“I was ahead of a lot of guys I wanted to be ahead of. Mission accomplished,” he said after the finish. “Especially after what I did on stage 12, even stage 3. I don’t know how many guys are going to be ahead of me on GC that have been going in all-day breakaways. I’m still feeling good, and we’ll just keep it going.”
Hesjedal got into a long-range move on stage 12 with 17 other riders, and made the final selection with Vinokourov and RadioShack’s Andreas Klöden that was only swept up in the final kilometers of the climb to the finish in Mende. On stage 3, Hesjedal attacked solo out of a breakaway on the cobbles. He was caught by the rest of the breakway, though, and finished fourth.
“I’m really happy today. I was a bit scared after the last two stages. Yesterday was hard; it just never stopped. It was singlefile all day. I could feel my legs after that, and I was a bit nervous for today,” he said. “But after we started climbing, I settled in, and I was comfortable as could be. And I showed that on the last climb.”
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