Ryder Hesjedal or Joaquin Rodriguez, the leader’s jersey at the Giro d’Italia keeps switching back and forth between the two. One day after team Garmin’s Hesjedal re-gained the lead, Katusha’s Rodriguez got it back for himself in Pian dei Resinelli.

“It’s clear that he’s in good shape,” Hesjedal said. “We got quite the little battle shaping up here.”

The 31-year-old Canadian spoke with Cycling Weekly and a handful of journalists surrounded by the rocky cliffs that tower above the small ski resort and, more than 1,000 metres below, Lecco and Lake Como. He just finished the 171-kilometre stage wet, tired and 39 seconds after Spain’s Rodriguez.

Rodriguez launched an attack 1,200 metres out, distanced himself from Hesjedal and favourites Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale), Roman Kreuziger (Astana) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD). He now leads Hesjedal by 30 seconds and the others by around a minute and a half.

“Ryder is right there. In the Tour of 2010, he passed me in the final time trial, I was eighth and he was fifth. He’s a very dangerous rider,” Rodriguez told the press, minutes later, after accepting his pink jersey.

“We’ll see who is the strongest in the final week. Right now, the strongest is me.”

Hesjedal speaks as he rides, slowly, but with precise measure. After a rest day tomorrow, he hopes to ride back into the pink jersey for the third and final time. The race restarts on Tuesday, climbs into Alto Adige and offers more chances for him.

“I can’t get sucked in to trying to accelerate with those guys like that,” Hesjedal continued. “I didn’t feel that good. If I can get through today like I did, not feeling good… If today was my bad day, then ah, I’m happy with that.”

Giro d’Italia 2012: Latest news

Cavendish’s Sky lead-out still on learning curve

Orica-GreenEdge to strengthen sprint train in Tour de France

Schleck struggles on with dislocated shoulder

Rodriguez up against more experienced rivals in Giro

Bak from worker to winner at the Giro

Cavendish disappointed to lose Giro stage in Montecatini Terme

Goss shaping up as Orica-GreenEdge leader

Hesjedal happy with Giro performance despite losing lead

Pinotti alters Giro plans after losing time in mountains

Pozzato apologises for role in causing crash

Hesjedal has tough day as Giro leader

Schleck building form in Giro for final week in Alps

English speakers on top

Giro favourites to make move in first mountain finish

Malori will relish time in Giro lead

Giro d’Italia 2012: Live coverage

Giro d’Italia 2012 live text coverage schedule

Giro d’Italia 2012: Stage reports

Stage 15: Rabottini takes tough win in Giro

Stage 14: Amador wins Giro’s first high mountain stage as Hesjedal reclaims lead

Stage 13: Cavendish makes it three

Stage 12: Bak attacks to win

Stage 11: Ferrari wins Giro stage on ride to redemption

Stage 10: Rodriguez wins thrilling finale to take lead

Stage nine: Ventoso wins in Frosinone as Goss and Cavendish fall

Stage eight: Pozzovivo takes another Giro win

Stage seven: Hesjedal moves into Giro lead

Stage six: Rubiano solos to epic Giro stage win

Stage five: Cavendish bounces back for another stage win

Stage four: Garmin-Barracuda win TTT to take lead

Stage three: Goss wins in Horsens as Cavendish and Phinney crash

Stage two: Cavendish wins in Herning

Stage one: Phinney wins time trial

Giro d’Italia 2012: Photo galleries

Stage 15 photo gallery

Stage 14 photo gallery

Stage 13 photo gallery

Stage 12 photo gallery

Stage 11 photo gallery

Stage 10 photo gallery

Stage nine photo gallery

Stage eight photo gallery

Stage seven photo gallery

Stage six photo gallery

Stage five photo gallery

Stage four photo gallery

Stage three photo gallery

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one photo gallery

Giro d’Italia 2012: Teams and riders

Giro d’Italia 2012 start list

Giro d’Italia 2012: TV guide

Giro d’Italia 2012: British Eurosport TV schedule

Related links

Giro d’Italia 2012: The Big Preview

Cycling Weekly’s Giro d’Italia section