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"If you're serious about the race and especially if you're in the pink jersey, you should have been at the head of affairs. End of story. Everyone rode down the descent and that was it," Hesjedal said.

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RYDER HESJEDAL

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29.05.2014 @ 09:00 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Ryder Hesjedal was the third rider to gain most on the controversies around the neutralization of the Stelvio descent during the 16th stage of the Giro d’Italia, as he joined the small group including Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Pierre Rolland (Europcar) to gain enough o fan advantage to ride himself into a podium contention.

 

Following a highly unfortunate beginning of the Giro d’Italia for Garmin-Sharp team it was very hard to imagine Hesjedal as a serious podium contender, however, Canadian rider refused to give up on his chances, claiming that the Italian three week event is a very unpredictable affair. Apparently the Garmin-Sharp leader was hunting for this kind of opportunities, as he made a good use of confusion created by race organizers atop the Stelvio to join a six-rider breakaway which eventually decided the stage and significantly shaken up the general classification.

 

Even though Rolland appeared to be stronger earlier in the race, it was Hesjedal who hang on his dear life to stay on Quintana’s wheel on the final ascent to Val Martello, what brought him into a podium contention.

 

"People seemed to have forgotten 2012 but I've been getting better as the race went on. That's what I'm going to think about now," he told Cyclingnews, somehow able to look to the rest of the Giro d'Italia despite racing in terrible conditions.

 

"I felt good and this is what I know I can do. I know I can go with the best when the going gets tough."

 

"I just stayed heads up today. The race developed the way it did over the Stelvio and I felt I was in the right place. Chapeau to Quintana. He deserved that win. As much as I'd have loved to win it, he deserved it. We put the race on him and he did the lion's share of the work and I was able to hold on."

 

In different circumstances, an impressive effort of the Garmin-Sharp captain would most likely elevate him to a hero of Tuesday’s stage, however, using an apparent confusion of other GC contenders to gain time casts a shadow on his performance and his words which followed it force to think of him even less.

 

"I haven't seen the full shakedown in GC but I'm happy with what we've gained. I'm disappointed not to win the stage but considering on how this Giro started out, I'm really pleased," he told Cyclingnews.

 

"I've never done the final climb before. It was tough but I think I rode well, rode smart and got something out of it."

 

Exactly like Rolland, Hesjedal insisted that it wasn’t him to attack on that descent as he only tried to survive and follow other riders’ wheels. He went one step further, however, claiming that Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) is the one to be blamed for losing the pink jersey as he should race down the Stelvia instead of.. following safety instructions passed by sports directors.

 

"Tell me what a neutralised descent is? Does everyone just stop?" he said as he rode to the start of the stage.

 

"If you're serious about the race and especially if you're in the pink jersey, you should have been at the head of affairs. End of story. Everyone rode down the descent and that was it."

 

"I just followed the guys that were ahead of me on the GC. There was stuff and people everywhere. I just rode the descent. I was basically on my own for the whole descent. I connected with those guys (the Quintana, Rolland group) at the bottom."

 

"At that moment you're just trying to stay safe and get through it. I wasn't thinking about anything except my wellbeing and riding down the hill," he said.

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