Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) delivered a solid final-day effort to become the first Canadian rider to win a grand tour when he finished 47 seconds ahead of Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha). Hesjedal finished sixth in the 28.2km time-trail in Milan. Taking calculated risks on every corner the all rounder took out nearly all of the time needed by the first time check of the TT taking his overall victory by a mere 16 seconds making the Italian Grand Tour one of the most exciting events of all time.
The lone figure of race leader Joaquim Rodriguez cutting through the streets of Milan clad in Pink was also one of a man on a mission as the Spaniard never said die and went all out with the belief that he could clinch the overall title to take hi forst Grand Tour.
Third place on the podium went to Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM), who backed up his brilliant Stelvio victory yesterday. The Belgian finished fifth on the day dislodging defending champion Michele Scarponi to fourth place. De Gendt’s elevation to third meant that there was no Italian on the final podium for the first time since 1995.
“This is incredible, I can’t quite believe it,” said the Garmin Barracuda rider. “I have to thank my team for their efforts over the past three weeks, I couldn’t have done it without them. I’ve had to dig deeper and deeper as the race has gone on. I also like to thank all the Canadian fans back home for their incredible support.
“It’s been a fantastic experience. I started to believe in it more and more when I realized that I was riding better in the mountains than I ever have in any other race. My legs felt good, I was strong in my head, and I reached the last day in good condition and managed to write an important page in history.”
Kiwi fans can be proud of the efforts put forward by Hesjedals team mate from Nelson Jack Bauer. The rider in his first year of the World Tour of cycling was a solid performer looking after his Canadian leaders interests for all of the three weeks.