… and you know who everyone will be focused on for the next three weeks.
A picture taken on July 4, 2009 in Monaco shows frontpages of French and Italian newspapers announcing the start of the 2009 Tour de France. The Tour, which starts today, will cover 21 stages (10 flat stages, 8 mountains, 2 individual time-trials as well as one team time trial) before it ends 3.500 km later in Paris on July 26.
Photo: NATHALIE MAGNIEZ/AFP/Getty Images
Hesjedal makes inroads at Tour de France
BY CLEVE DHEENSAW, CANWEST
JULY 4, 2009
VICTORIA — Churning past the famous casino of Monaco on Saturday, Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria placed a respectable 44th among the 180 cyclists who began the first leg of the 2009 Tour de France.
“Today was pretty spectacular to say the least. The course was amazing and lined with screaming fans from start to finish,” said the two-time Olympian, when contacted after the first-stage individual time trial.
“Powering by the prestigious landmarks was very motivating and something I will never forget. It was great to start this Tour in an individual test against the clock. I felt great on the bike and think I could have gone a little faster with a few changes. But in the big picture, I’m happy with my performance and definitely feeling good about the rest of the race to come.”
Hesjedal completed the 15.5-kilometre time trial in 20 minutes, 59 seconds, which was a minute and 27 seconds behind stage winner Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland and his 19:32 clocking.
American legend Lance Armstrong, whose return to the Tour has created a buzz and is being closely watched, finished 10th and was 40 seconds behind Cancellara.
Hesjedal became the first Canadian in the Tour de France in more than 10 years in 2008, only the fourth Canuck rider in Tour history, and continues to build his position on the Garmin Slipstream team.
Skipping Giro was right call for Hesjedal
By Andrew Hood
Published: Jul. 5, 2009
Ryder Hesjedal on Sunday.
Photo: Andrew Hood
The road back to his second Tour de France was different for Ryder Hesjedal this year.
While most of his Tour-bound teammates followed the successful blueprint from 2008 and raced the Giro d’Italia in May, Garmin-Slipstream brass put the brakes on the tall Canadian and told him to rest instead of race.
“Not racing the Giro was definitely the right call. I feel like I’ve improved since I took a break and I am coming into the Tour in my best level ever,” Hesjedal told VeloNews. “I came out of the Tour de Suisse in good condition and I am getting better every day. I’m going to be in top shape and be there when the team needs me.”