Friday, September 11, 2009
Another first! Hesjedal wins Vuelta stage
Spain — Canadian Ryder Hesjedal rode a brilliant race in Spain on Friday, scoring a dramatic win atop the Alto de Velefique to give Garmin-Slipstream its second straight stage victory at the Vuelta a España.
Hesjedal’s Stage 12 win in the Vuelta followed Tyler Farrar’s sprint victory in Stage 11. From the sprints to the mountains, stage wins to GC contention, Garmin-Slipstream has emerged as one of the most versatile teams in this year’s final grand tour.
Hesjedal, who also came close to a win with a second-place finish in Stage 10 just a few days ago, was off the front of the field with Spaniard David Garcia (Xacobeo Galicia) as they approached the finish of the grueling 179km stage 12 from Almería to the summit finish atop the Alto de Velefique. The tall Canadian launched an al-out attack in the final meters and left Garcia behind.
On a difficult stage following the rest day, Hesjedal joined an early break that formed at the 30-kilometer mark. The break had 11 riders and built a lead through the day’s three categorized climbs that preceded the final Category 1 climb to the finish.
“It was really difficult,” Hesjedal told VeloNews.com after the win. “You never know what's going to happen after the rest day. I just felt great all day.”
As the attacks began on the final climb, Hesjedal prevailed as the last man standing. He’s now the first Canadian to win a stage of the Vuelta.
In the GC battle, Hesjedal’s teammate Tom Danielson maintained his fourth-place GC position. Danielson is 51 seconds behind overall leader Alejandro Valverde and looking forward to another day in the mountains tomorrow.
VUELTA A ESPANA
Spain. August 29-September 20
Stage 12, Almeria – Alto de Velefique, 174km
1. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Garmin-Slipstream, 5:34:31
2. David Garcia (Spa), Xacobeo Galicia, at 0:01
3. Robert Gesink (Ned), Rabobank, at 0:06
4. Ezequiel Mosquer (Spa), Xacobeo Galicia, same time
5. Damiano Cunego (Ita), Lampre-NGC, at 0:16
9. Tom Danielson (USA), Garmin-Slipstream, at 0:16
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa), Caisse d’Epargne, 51:12:38
2. Cadel Evans (Aus), Silence-Lotto, at 0:07
3. Robert Gesink (Ned), Rabobank, at 0:18
4. Tom Danielson (USA), Garmin-Slipstream, at 0:51
5. Ivan Basso (Ita), Liquigas, at 0:53