Posted by Editor on 05/20/05
Ryder Hesjedal Interview
We spoke with Ryder Hesjedal earlier in the week from the Giro d'Italia, where his is competing with the Discovery Channel team. Ryder had been in a serious crash last Friday (stage 6), and is still recovering.
Canadian Cyclist - So, how are you doing?
Ryder Hesjedal - It 's been a little blurry the last couple of days. Nothing's broken ...
CC - How did it happen?
RH - I was riding up the side of the peloton and someone crossed wheels. There was nothing I could do, it was right beside me. So I went flying, took all the impact on my head and shoulders. I was lucky I didn't break anything. I got a concussion, and there's a massive hematoma on my shoulder - my right arm is pretty much useless right now. I got some whiplash as well to my neck when it got compressed - my helmet was crushed, in pieces. This crash was definitely one of the better ones I've had...
CC - And riding after that, what has been like trying to keep going?
RH - The day after was pretty hard - it was a long day, 210 K. I just made it through in the grupetto, I got through somehow. Some of the Aussies didn't think I would start the stage (laughs). Then the next day we rode the TT (time trial), so I just rode it easy. Yesterday (stage 9) I couldn't hang on at all on the climb. I spent 100 kilometres off the peloton, it's a long way if you aren't in there. I just made the time cut by about a minute. It's just going to take time, the body just has to deal with the trauma and fatigue.
CC - Will you be able to keep going?
RH - Yep, I'm going to stay in as long as possible. As long as I can do something to help the team I will stay in.
CC - Earlier, at the start of the Giro, things were looking pretty good - both you and Michael (Barry) in the top-20 in the Prologue!
RH - Yeah, that was a power ride, for sure - so short. I had an idea from the week before (in Tour of Romandie) that I can get up to speed and hold it for that short distance. Michael has more experience in these types of rides, I'd never done anything like that before. I was starting to feel good, to get going on the day I crashed, but now it is just recovery. It's an uphill battle.
CC - You were pretty excited about doing your first Grand Tour when we spoke before the race. How about now - is it different in a Grand Tour?
RH - Yeah, a Grand Tour is super unique. The Giro is ... the Giro. It hasn't even really started yet! One bad day of racing and you are out of the race. Overall, I'm feeling good, feeling comfortable, not overwhelmed about being here. It just takes time and experience to learn to do these things.
It is definitely its own style of racing in Italy. When breaks go, they just ... go. It's not like Spain, which is attack, attack, attack. Here, the first few hours are easy, they let the break go. There's a lot of controlling by the big teams, which is nice. There's more of a rhythm to the days.
This is the top. The racing is fierce already, but the real racing doesn't start until the third week. It's daunting to keep that in the back of your mind.
CC - After the Giro you are still scheduled to come home for a while, I guess? Are you still planning on racing Road Nationals?
RH - Yeah, I'm supposed to come home for a while, that's the plan. Definitely, if I am able I will be at Nationals. That is a big objective for me if it works out. I'd love to be able to wear the maple leaf (of national champion) in the European peloton, that would be incredible.
After today's stage (12), Ryder is still in the Giro - 172nd, at 1:27:51 behind race leader Ivan Basso (CSC).
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