Canadian Ryder Hesjedal started the Tour de France as Christian Vande Velde’s mountain man, but now finds himself battling for a top ten overall while Vande Velde watches from home.

Vande Velde abandoned the Tour de France on the third day to Spa due to a crash and two broken ribs. Hesjedal quickly took up responsibility of the team’s overall contender, with Vande Velde calling frequently with advice.

“The last thing he wants to do is be going through the Tour de France mentally when he is at home,” explained Hesjedal. “Though, I heard from him a lot when he first dropped out. I am sure he sees that I am fine and doing my best.”

Hesjedal showed Vande Velde he is up to his best today. He went on the attack today with Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden and Vasil Kiryienka, hoping to gain some time in the classification or a stage win. However, it didn’t work. The favourites group caught Hesjedal, and the other three, on the closing climb.

It was a risky move for a rider sitting in the top 20 overall and with the four Pyrenean stages to come, but Hesjedal was please with his aggression.

“I would rather race than sit and follow. Some people might say that is stupid, but I am here to race and I’d rather be out front taking my chances,” Hesjedal explained.

“I am not scared, even with the hardest days of the Tour de France coming up.”

Four of the hardest days are coming in the Pyrenees, beginning with Sunday’s stage to Ax 3 Domaines. Hesjedal sits 13th overall, 6’25″ behind leader Andy Schleck and over a minute ahead of former team-mate, Sky’s Bradley Wiggins.

“I don’t think I am ‘racing’ against him at the moment, but we have been surviving together. We just happened to be with each other on the end of the Alpine stages,” Hesjedal continued.

“The sport changes every year. If you get fourth one year, obviously you have to prepare and try to come back to improve. He said immediately after his first few tests [stages in the race] that he doesn’t not think he is capable of going with the top guys.

“I never came here with a top ten in mind. Maybe if I had been thinking about it all year and now to be here, then maybe that would be different.”

Is a top ten possible for Hesjedal?

“I think so,” he said. “It is a nice goal to shoot for.”

Tour de France 2010: Latest news



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



Bradley Wiggins: Tour rest day conference



Evans faces rough ride in yellow



Riis secures replacement sponsor but Shleck in doubt



Tour de France 2010: rest day review (July 12)



Armstrong’s Tour de France dream ends



Sky’s objective clear ahead of Tour’s high mountains



The Feed Zone (July 10): Tour de France news and views

 

Tour de France 2010: Stage reports



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 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 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

 

  • El Cid

    Give up , Gregor, he’s knackered and will lose time in the Pyrennees.