Ryder Hesjedal woke up this morning in Milan after a great battle in the Italian Alps. The Canadian of team Garmin-Barracuda held off Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) on the mighty Stelvio Pass to position himself for the Giro d’Italia’s overall win.

At 2,757 metres, just over the line and to the right, the warrior hunched over his handlebars after the battle. He took in deep breaths of thin air as staff, friends and journalists surrounded. Photographers’ cameras clicks and a speaker announcing the riders finishing filled the air.

He composed himself, changed shoes and started to ride towards his team car up a dirt and gravel road. Cycling Weekly and the Sydney Morning Herald followed, careful not to trip.

“I hope it is enough,” he said about his gains and his stance in the overall classification. He crossed the line 14 seconds behind Rodriguez and two seconds behind Scarponi. In the overall, he sits 31 seconds behind leader Rodriguez and 1-20 minutes ahead of Scarponi – not a bad position for a strong time trial rider.

Today the riders face a 30 kilometre around Milan’s centre. Simple compared to the around 5500 meters climbing yesterday, including a 22.4km climb to the Stelvio Pass.

“I was getting abused,” he said, still riding and responding about the final attacks. “They just sat on my wheel. I had to do it the hard way and it seemed like everyone wanted me to lose the Giro… I dunno… I guess that’s the way it is.

Teams Liquigas and Lampre followed Garmin for most of the day even if Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM), who escaped free, threatened their podium places. “Again, they didn’t care. They would rather see me lose than them lose their position.”

He appeared a tired and beaten man. However, he’d battled three weeks, held the leader’s jersey for four days and positioned himself close enough to pounce in the time trial. The effort up Stelvio had been his team’s last heroic stance.

Garmin played its tactics well, putting Christian Vande Velde in an early escape and keeping Peter Stetina at Hesjedal’s side. Vande Velde dropped back after the Mortirolo and the duo paced the group to the late slopes of the Stelvio.

Their leadership at the head of the peloton replaced Liquigas, who controlled most of the mountain stages for Ivan Basso. Hesjedal thought of his mates.

“It was unreal. The team was just unbelievable. The whole race, they stuck it to us. I was pretty proud with what I was able to do today,” Hesjedal continued. “I have never experienced anything like that before.”

Before riding ahead, he responded about the time trial ahead.

“I’m going to give it everything,” he said. “It’s not really an issue of underestimating the situation of the race.”

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Bak from worker to winner at the Giro

Giro d’Italia 2012: Live coverage



Giro d’Italia 2012 live text coverage and schedule



Giro d’Italai 2012 stage 13 live text coverage



Giro d’Italia 2012 stage 12 live text coverage



Giro d’Italia 2012 stage 10 live text coverage



Giro d’Italia 2012 stage six live text coverage



Giro d’Italia 2012 stage four live text coverage

Giro d’Italia 2012: Stage reports

Stage 20: De Gendt conquers Stelvio to win stage

Stage 19: Kreuziger bounces back with Giro stage win

Stage 18: Guardini beats Cavendish in final Giro sprint

Stage 17: Rodriguez wins stage to consolidate lead

Stage 16: Izagirre claims Basque breakaway victory

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 20 photo gallery



Stage 19 photo gallery



Stage 18 photo gallery



Stage 17 photo gallery



Stage 16 photo gallery



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: Blogs

Charly Wegelius’ Giro blog: Conserving energy for the final week

Charly Wegelius’ Giro blog: Holding on to the lead

Charly Wegelius’ Giro blog: Getting the team time trial right

Giro moto blog: Hurray for rest day

Giro moto blog: Stage 10

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