3,365 kilometers (2,091 miles) down, 196 kilometers (122 miles) to go.
It’s time you met Ryder Hesjedal. Appropriate name for a bike ryder, eh?
Hesjedal is on the American-sponsored Team Garmin-Chipotle (why yes that is argyle on their team kit).
While three of four Americans in the Tour are on his team, Hesjedal is the first Canadian to ride in the Tour since 1997. At the start today, he was 52nd overall and while no one remembers the name of the guy who finishes fifty-2nd, he’s doing exactly what he’s supposed to in his role on the team.
During Stage 16, Hesjedal was even mentioned by name during Versus’ coverage of the race. As the guys peddled over the Col de la Lombarde and the Col de la Bonnette – Europe’s highest pass at over 9,000 feet – Hesjedal kept pace with Lance Armstrong’s former teammate, American George Hincapie. Hesjedal’s teammates include Americans Christian Vande Velde (currently 6th overall), Danny Pate and our buddy Will Frischkorn.
Props to Hesjedal for the hard work and to Canadian fans waving huge, Canadian flags along the mountain route.
Separated at Birth?
If you’re looking for a Sydney Crosby in the cycling world, look no further than Mark Cavendish, winner of an impressive four stages in this year’s Tour. While he’s not touted to be the next, say, Lance Armstrong, he does have a similar, youthful look and mannerism as Crosby, and is predicted to be the next Big Thing in his cycling specialty: the sprint.
Some fantastic crashes occur during sprints, but I think Jonathan Vaughters, manger of Team Garmin-Chipotle (and former pro cyclist) was referring to mountain descents when he said, “If you want to know what it’s like to crash in a professional bike race, next time you’re in your car, strip down to your underwear and jump out the door at 50 mph.”
Thanks for the tip.
In other news, holy cow – is July a great month for sports or what? If you didn’t catch the Nadal-Federer final at Wimbledon, you missed one of the all-time most exciting events in sports. I always say: if you’re not big into spectating sports, just catch the premier events. That way, you see only the best-of-the-best in skill, response to pressure, and drama – just like the Olympics. This was by no means an exception.
There’s a piece in a recent issue of Wired magazine about this new ice vest that certain endurance athletes (marathon runners) wear before they race, to lower their body temperature. Vande Velde was seen pulling on an ice vest before starting the Stage 4 Time Trial, the event when cyclists go all out, one by one, over a shorter course to see who’s the fastest. VdV placed 8th out of 178, so it must’ve done him some good.
Here’s some pretty cool Tour road art.