Posted by Editoress on 05/26/12
Canada's Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) continues to cement his position as the strongest contender for the overall Giro title, with a superb effort in the penultimate stage of the race.
The 20th stage of the race, finishing at the top of the Stelvio Pass, the highest mountain top finish of any Grand Tour, saw Belgian Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) take the stage win and vault into fourth on the GC, while Hesjedal and his team mates were forced to chase down this threat to the overall lead.
With Pink Jersey holder Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha Team), Michele Scarponi (Lampre - ISD), Rigoberto Uran Uran (Sky Procycling) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) all following his wheel, Hesjedal cut nearly two minutes from de Gendt's lead in the final five kilometres. Rodriguez and Scarponi both attacked Hesjedal in the final kilometre, but the Canadian was able to limit his losses to a few seconds, and remains the favourite to take the final Pink Jersey after tomorrow's time trial, currently sitting 31 seconds behind Rodriguez.
If he does win, Hesjedal will become the first Canadian man to ever win a Grand Tour. After his days in Pink earlier during this Giro, he has already become the only Canadian to wear the Pink Jersey.
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