Canadian Cyclist


April 8/05 9:11 am - Ryder Hesjedal Interview

Posted by Editor on 04/8/05

Interview with Ryder Hesjedal

Ryder Hesjedal, a member of Lance Armstrong's Discovery squad, has been selected to ride the most famous one day classic of all this Sunday - Paris-Roubaix. Hesjedal spoke to us last night from his hotel room in Belgium, where he is training and preparing with his team.

CC - So, Paris-Roubaix! When did you find out you would be doing the race, and how does it feel?

RH - It should be good. I found out coming up to Gent (-Wevelgem). There were a bunch changes to the program, with guys getting sick, so I got the call. It is pretty amazing, in my first full season. I went straight into training after (Tour of) Qatar, and then a bunch of races were cancelled (due to bad weather in Europe), so I didn't get as much racing. Then I did some E3 races, and Paris-Camembert, and then got the call on weekend for Gent and Roubaix.

CC - Gent-Wevelgem was your first ProTour race. Did you notice anything different or special about a ProTour race?

RH - Gent-Wevelgem is a pretty unique race. When it splits, it splits. Unfortunately, we were at the back with George (Hincapie) changing a wheel. He could have easily had good result but that's the way it goes. So, save it for Sunday. The ProTour is no different then other big classic races; there is a lot of tension and it leads to crashes. The Belgian spring season is as tough as it gets.

CC - Have you tried out the Pavé yet?

RH - We are going tomorrow to check out the new sections. It will be a battle.

CC - Now that you are into your first season on the road full time, how do you feel about your decision to leave mountain biking - any regrets?

RH - I don't think about it. It is what I am. If had to answer whether Paris-Roubaix or Sea Otter ... It would be a foolish question. (laughs) This is my primary focus. I'm putting 100% effort into this and not worrying about two disciplines. This is my passion, my future. I'm trying to find my way - there is a lot more going on in this world than mountain biking. So far, it has been moving slowly, but also rather fast. To be on this team, in the mix, to contribute to leaders like Lance and George is a pretty significant cycling career.

Miss mountain biking? Honestly, not at all. Now I have immersed myself in this world. I don't even look back one bit. I don't think I could be where I am if I looked back. I have no desire to be worrying about "What tread pattern to run."

CC - How about Georgia? Will we see you over here for that?

RH - No, not Georgia. I am full time over here.

CC - With the ProTour, Discovery will be putting teams in all three Grand Tours. Does this mean you will be doing one of the Tours?

RH - Not at moment, and originally I was not scheduled at all. But the Giro list is getting shorter, and my name is still at the end, for a last position. To do a Grand Tour in my first season would be perfect. It is where I want to be. Everything I can do helps as I need to develop, I want to get a taste of everything.

I heard a quote: "To win Roubaix once, you have to lose ten times" ... that's the way it is.

CC - Do you have any personal goals for Paris-Roubaix; beyond helping the team?

RH - It is a battle: you versus the course. Just finishing Roubaix is an accomplishment. If I can do my job and get to the end then it is as much as I could hope to do. Just an opportunity to ride ahead of the game, ahead of the long range program. Riding for a team with contender is pretty special.


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