Ryder Hesjedal – Tour de France 2009, stage 15, originally uploaded by Garmin Slipstream Pro Cycling Team.
Ryder was a key catalyst in the breakaway group today, bringing home points toward the polka dot jersey by finishing second on the category 3 Prevonloup climb and finishing right up with the escape leaders on the Col des Mosses category 2. He also got a lot of face time on Versus when they aired a profile on him as he climbed the Col des Mosses.
Solid day all round.
The peleton eventually caught up to the escape group for the final ascent up Verbier, with Ryder ending up 44th for the stage, 4’23” back. Hesjedal now stands in 57th, among notable Tour vets Jens Voigt and Christophe Moreau.
Contador was clearly the story of the day, pulling away with ease from the other leaders to take the stage by 43″ over Andy Schleck, and 1’35” over Lance Armstrong, who finished 9th.
The Tour has the strong feeling of an anti-climax, partly because Contador has twice attacked Armstrong with no response, and also because there have been no real shake outs since the early Pyrenees stages. Tour organizers have managed to make this a fairly pedestrian tour so far, long on gorgeous French, Spanish, Swiss, and Alsatian landscapes, but very short on dramatic attacks.
Armstrong admitted in a gracious post-stage interview that Contador is clearly the better rider right now. Looks like he’s setting his sights on second place as the notorious Ventoux lies in wait for the Tour leaders.