Ryder Hesjedal made his own history on the Col du Tourmalet today, 100 years after the Tour de France first introduced the pass. His ride through the rain, cold and mist was enough to see him jump up the classification, ready to be the best-placed Canadian since Steve Bauer’s fourth in 1988
in when the race ends on Sunday

“It was drama plus,” team Garmin-Transitions’ Hesjedal explained. “I was not surprised with the day, the whole Tour has been tough. I knew it was going to add to the epic day.”

The 174-kilometre sateg, covering four high mountain passes, was the Tour’s first cold and rainy day this year. Hesjedal did not really seem to mind, he stuck with his direct rivals after Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck rode ahead to the win. Hesjedal, though, dropped Levi Leipheimer and Alexandre Vinokourov to jump from 10th to eighth overall.

The only final test that remains is a 52-kilometre time trial on Saturday and a chance for him to finish seventh or sixth overall in Paris on Sunday.

“We came here to win a stage with Tyler Farrar and get a top ten with Christian Vande Velde,” said sports director, Matt White. “We got one of those two even with both of those guys watching the race at home on television.”

The two were forced to abandon after they crashed during stage two to Spa. Hesjedal stepped up, though, and has been the star of the American team at the Tour de France.

White believes more is possible in Saturday’s time trial.

“He can pick off Joaquin Rodriguez for seventh.”

Hesjedal is 9’18” behind leader Contador and 2’15” behind Spain’s Rodriguez.

“I feel good and the longer TT will suit me,” Hesjedal continued. “I feel the best I felt in the whole Tour, which is a good signal with the crono coming up.”

Tour de France 2010: Latest news

Armstrong has his last go in the Tour

Tour’s points leader Petacchi investigated for doping

Contador issues video apology to Schleck

Millar searches horizon for Eiffel Tower

Schleck-Contador friendship turns sour after chain problem

Wiggins at 2010 Tour: “I haven’t got it”

Basso wins Tour’s acceptance; podium spot next goal

Contador versus Schleck: A game of seconds

Can Cav win without Renshaw?

Hesjedal pushing his way to the Tour’s top

Renshaw disqualification overshadows Cavendish’s win

Charly Wegelius pulls out of Tour

Did Armstrong own a stake in Tailwind Sports, or not?

Cavendish in a ‘must win’ situation for Tour’s green jersey

Millar rides through pain barrier to make time cut

Roche alongside Tour’s top men ahead of Pyrenees

Wiggins to aim for Tour de France stage win?

Dan Lloyd battles on in Tour despite groin strain

Tour de France 2010: Stage reports

Stage 17: Schleck wins on the Tourmalet but cannot shake off Contador

Rest day review (July 21)

Stage 16: Fedrigo takes tough Pyrenean stage

Stage 15: Victorious Voeckler continues fine Franch Tour as Contador takes yellow jersey

Stage 14: Riblon hangs on in Pyrenees to give France fourth stage win

Stage 13: Vino returns to top of Tour after doping ban

Stage 12: Rodriguez wins as Contador attacks

Stage 11: Cavendish bags third stage win but lead out man kicked out of Tour

Stage 10: Cavendish bags third stage win but his lead-out man is kicked out of race

Stage 10: Paulinho claims narrow stage victory on Bastille day

Stage nine: Casar wins stage as Schleck and Contador go head-to-head

Stage seven: Chavanel wins stage and takes overall as Thomas drops out of Tour’s white

Stage six: Cavendish makes it two as Tour hots up

Stage five: Cavendish wins his first stage of Tour

Stage four: Petacchi wins into Reims

Stage three: Hushovd takes dramatic win; Thomas second on stage and GC

Stage three live coverage: As it happened

Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa

Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters

Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win

Tour de France 2010: Photos

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

Tour 2010 wallpaper

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 gallery

Prologue photo gallery

Tour de France 2010: Videos

Stage 16 video highlights

Stage 15 video highlights

Stage 14 video highlights

Stage 13 video highlights

Stage 12 video highlights

Stage 11 video highlights

Stage 10 video highlights

Stage nine video highlights

Stage eight video highlights

Stage seven video highlights

Stage six video highlights

Stage five video highlights

Stage four video highlights

Stage three video highlights

Stage two video highlights

Stage one video highlights

Prologue video highlights

Tour de France 2010: Race guide

Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

Official start list, with race numbers

Brits at the Tour 2010

Tout team guide

Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins

Tour de France 2010: Pictures

Tour team presentation, Rotterdam

Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special