Posted by Editor on 05/9/08
Ryder Hesjedal Interview
Tomorrow, Ryder Hesjedal will start the 2008 Giro d'Italia with the Slipstream Chipotle p/b H3O squad. Ryder took a few minutes to talk with us on the telephone this morning from his hotel room before heading off for a massage.
Canadian Cyclist: So, the first question is: what do you do in the final day before the start of the Giro?
Ryder Hesjedal: Well we try to keep it a pretty calm day. We've already ridden [it was approximately 3:00 pm local time when we spoke] and had lunch, and now we are having massages. On the bike we spent some time on the road bikes, and then a short rotation on the time trials bikes in prep for tomorrow.
CC: Tomorrow is a Team Time Trial, how do you rate the team's chances?
RH: I rate us pretty high, actually. We have been focussing on it and have done well, so there is no reason we can't be challenging for the win.
CC: And overall, what are the goals here for the team? Are you going for stage wins, or GC [General Classification] contention?
RH: We are definitely taking more of a stage hunting approach. The goal here is to bring our riders up for the Tour [de France] later in the season, not be a GC contender here. This is the first Grand Tour for the team, so it is almost like a dry run.
CC: And what about your personal goals; what are you looking to accomplish here?
RH: Really, I want to come out of this race in a good way, because I'm looking to later in the summer. If I can survive and come out healthy ... maybe be in a position to go for a stage victory ... really, I'll just have to wait and see how the race unfolds.
CC: That's right, your last Giro experience didn't go so well, with a bad crash and having to abandon.
RH: Yeah, that can always happen in any race, but there is no reason to think I can't do the full distance and have a solid ride.
CC: Let's talk about your season so far - it's been pretty solid with some strong rides.
RH: Yeah, that's right. On a consistency level, I've had no better season than the current one, it has definitely been a successful campaign. Getting 8th overall at Tirreno [Adriatico], being in the front group all of the time ... it's the high level that I have tried to be at, and this [season] has been a confirmation.
CC: Now how about the Tour? What are your chances?
RH: I would say my chances are as good as anybody. I think I've given a strong case so far. The team that is here [Giro], quite a few are scheduled for July, so it is a good position to be in, to be here. Basically, we are using a Grand Tour to get ready for a Grand Tour, and I will have to see how it shakes out. This is the premiere Grand Tour for a new team, and that's nice to be part of, plus I'm the only Canadian here, so I'm trying to represent us the best I can.
Ryder then got called away to his massage, but mentioned just before leaving that he is launching a new website - www.ryderhesjedal.com - and is going to try for daily blogs on the Giro.
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