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Canadian Ryder Hesjedal wins Giro D'Italia
May 27, 2012 10:43 AM   Subscribe

Canadian Ryder Hesjedal is cycling’s rising star Like many "rising stars" Ryder Hesjedal has been struggling for many years to attain this honour. Today his efforts are realized with his win of the Giro-Ditalia.
posted by smudgedlens (33 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's pretty cool. I'm glad his parents didn't name him Walker.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:55 AM on May 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


Everybody in Victoria is pretty stoked.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:57 AM on May 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


It was a very impressive performance. I manage an informal prediction competition for bike races on a cycling forum... there are about 100 participants and not one person picked Hesjedal.

He strikes me as a very unassuming kind of guy, just as happy doing domestique work for a team-mate as he is being a team leader, so it's nice to see him get some reward for all the hard work he's done in the past.

(That said, I was also a bit sorry for Joaquim Rodriguez at the end of today's stage. It strikes me as a bit cruel to have a competitive stage as the finalé of a grand tour; I much prefer the celebratory nature of a slow ride into Milan/Paris/Madrid and then a sprint.)
posted by afx237vi at 11:07 AM on May 27, 2012


I hadn't followed the Giro this past week, lots of real-life stuff getting in the way. An awesome win for Ryder, whom I thought would break out this year or next, and a great win for the Slipstream team. Nice to see a team built around clean cycling get the win.
posted by Eekacat at 11:37 AM on May 27, 2012


Great article on Hesjedal and the insanity of professional cycling: http://walrusmagazine.com/articles/2011.07-sports-the-pain-principle/
posted by Rora at 11:44 AM on May 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


So someone called 'Ryder' is cycling's rising star? Likely story.
posted by item at 11:45 AM on May 27, 2012


afx237vi, While yes, the last "gimme" stage as a showcase for the sprinters, and a parade for the peleton is classic, to me the most exciting Tour de France ended with Greg Lemond coming from behind in a final stage time trial. It really shows that you really have to be both good in the mountains and against the clock (plus don't forget they won the team time trial too). Would this have ended any different if the time trial was the second to last stage? I don't think so. I think the Slipstream guys played this perfectly.
posted by Eekacat at 11:47 AM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


My boyfriend is in the living room watching "Stars and Watercarriers" a documentary about the 1975 Giro d'Italia.
posted by sciencegeek at 11:47 AM on May 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Whoops, Here's the link to the full length feature.
posted by sciencegeek at 11:48 AM on May 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


This was a fantastic Giro! Rodriguez only has himself to blame (although Scarponi and Basso can blame the rest of Lampre and Liquigas, respectively). We can now stop saying "...since Steve Bauer" every time we talk about Ryder.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:55 AM on May 27, 2012


Everybody in Victoria is pretty stoked stoned.

Fixed.
posted by Fizz at 12:22 PM on May 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thanks for linking that article Rora.

For all the "clean Garmin" comments I call you all to these two paragraphs:
Jonathan Vaughters, who rode through the worst of the doping crisis; has contorted like a preteen Chinese gymnast around his own compromised record; and was determined to start a clean team — consequences, and potentially poor results, be damned.
Is that more or less ethical than Landis and Hamilton doing the dirty and then telling all? Is it more or less likely to be the truth?
Cycling, after all, is the toughest sport in the world. A rider must give up his body to the agonies of pedalling for days and months on end. He must give up other things: his youth, a part of his essential character, the broadness of a lived life, all for the focused brilliance of his sport. But in these certainties, questions remain. If one is “frustrated with fifth,” does this mean one is unwilling to go as far as it is necessary to go, into the grey areas where Adam’s Whereabouts doesn’t peek? One can be forgiven, also, for wondering if winning morally beats winning by any means necessary. In a sport that demands giving everything away, must not one give everything away?
I don't know, I enjoy the ambiguity of cycling. My advise is that it would be a mistake to invest too much certainty in any of the claims.
posted by Chuckles at 12:49 PM on May 27, 2012


steephill.tv has aggregated a bunch of video clips from this year's Giro. Here are some of my favorites:

Stage 14, Hesjedal takes back the pink jersey

Stage 19, Hesjedal rides away from the pack

There were also some beautiful sprint finishes in this year's race as well. I don't speak a lick of Italian, but I'm now convinced it's the perfect language to announce exciting bicycle race finishes:

Guardini! Guardini! Guardini!
posted by funkiwan at 12:57 PM on May 27, 2012


That's great. I am staying in a condo with a bunch of bike racers, and we are all very excited about Ryder's win. I will have to check the highlights reel when I am back in a place with speedier Internet.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:02 PM on May 27, 2012


Like many "rising stars" Ryder Hesjedal has been struggling for many years to attain this honour.

I wonder what he started using to make it this year.
posted by Dasein at 1:08 PM on May 27, 2012


Eekacat wrote: afx237vi, While yes, the last "gimme" stage as a showcase for the sprinters, and a parade for the peleton is classic, to me the most exciting Tour de France ended with Greg Lemond coming from behind in a final stage time trial. It really shows that you really have to be both good in the mountains and against the clock (plus don't forget they won the team time trial too). Would this have ended any different if the time trial was the second to last stage? I don't think so. I think the Slipstream guys played this perfectly.

I get what you're saying, but it's not the time trial I have a problem with, just the fact that it's on the final day. If the jersey switches on the penultimate day, it gives Hesjedal the chance to ride into Milan wearing the jersey and hearing the crowds salute his achievement, while also cushioning the blow somewhat for Rodriguez. Even for the TV viewers who have invested a lot of time watching the race, it gives us a chance to see Hesjedal in pink (if you watch the race on Eurosport like I do, they barely let the riders cross the line before cutting away to another sport). It's just a personal preference at the end of the day.
posted by afx237vi at 1:21 PM on May 27, 2012


The great thing is that Ryder really truly WON this race. He was the strongman of the GC riders and he was never afraid to attack, chase, lead or turn himself inside out to preserve time. Chapeaux Ryder!
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:26 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder what he started using to make it this year.
posted by Dasein


Seriously?
posted by mek at 1:32 PM on May 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: I wonder what it started using to make it this year.

Dasein: Do you follow cycling? Do you understand that there are multiple complex factors that contribute to one rider's win - most of them having nothing to do with chemical shit? If you've got some solid grounds on which to say this, let us know. If not, save your cynicism for Canadian politics - at least on this we can all agree.
posted by kneecapped at 1:37 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do honestly take Slipstream/Garmin/Vaughters at face value, and think they're riding clean. I don't think they're faking all the extra testing they do. Cycling is a sport that's a combination of being a genetic freak, and a mental test. If you can do both, then you can win the grand tours. Time trials are the test for the mental side, and there's no amount of chemistry that can overcome that. The mountain stages are the test for the genetic freaks, and that's where the chemistry comes in to play, as well as in the recovery from those stages. Stage winning sprinters are freaks on their own, but they'll never be GC contenders. They are, however, totally dependent on having a good team. People lose sight of the fact that cycling is a team sport. That was the threat that was pulled on Greg Lemond when he was poised to win his first Tour de France. The team star Bernard Hinault wasn't ready to let go just yet.

My own experience cycling way back when is that everyone knew what everyone else was doing. Greg Lemond always came across clean, as did Jonathan Vaughters. Lance Armstrong, not so much. He had a bad reputation before he had cancer, and got a free ride afterwards because of it.

As far as the final stage, I love cycling and it's long history. The grand tours change their courses and order of stages. They rotate through having a time trial for the final. Eddy Merckx in his first Tour de France win had a final stage that was a time trial, but was so far ahead that it was no contest. It's years like this, and when Greg Lemond beat Laurent Fignon in the Tour de France that it's dramatic. As a long time fan, I think it's great, and adds to the spectacle of the event. I don't think Ryder cares that he didn't get a chance to coast in on the last day. I think he cares that he got to stand on the podium after it.
posted by Eekacat at 2:50 PM on May 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


funkiwan: Guardini! Guardini! Guardini!

Indeed :)

Of course he was disqualified a stage or two later for holding on to a team car. Something that sprinters normally get away with without sanction. Just one of those cycling ambiguities...

Eekacat: Lance Armstrong, not so much. He had a bad reputation before he had cancer, and got a free ride afterwards because of it.

I don't know about a free ride exactly.. Armstrong knew exactly how to play the political game with the UCI to become a favoured rider. It is really interesting to hear Landis talk about this stuff. Landis had an American apple-pie sense of justice, and Armstrong had to take him aside and explain that Europe and the UCI just don't work like that.
posted by Chuckles at 3:21 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Very nice article in the Star by Cathal Kelly.
posted by Chuckles at 3:33 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lest anyone think Ryder is a popular winner: Worst Grand Tour of the last decade?
posted by Chuckles at 3:45 PM on May 27, 2012


I've known competitive, sponsored cyclists. They were given a choice: use drugs or don't get to the next level. Everyone at that level dopes. It's the only way to compete. Sorry to burst your bubble. P.S. Carl Lewis was on drugs, too, he just didn't get caught.
posted by Dasein at 5:33 PM on May 27, 2012


Actually, the fact that Rodriguez wasn't able to launch some sort of explosive attack on the Stelvio and take 5 minutes out of the leaders is good evidence that the peloton has been riding clean(er) recently. You won't see many riders climbing like Landis or Rasmussen these days.

Of course, Rodriguez still should have attacked Hesjedal at some point before the last km on the Stelvio. Knowing that Ryder was only 17" behind him on the start of Saturday's stage, and not really attacking can probably be attributed to caution, especially not knowing Ryder's ability to counterattack. However, it looks like cowardice- if Rodriguez had attacked earlier, he might have finally caught Ryder out, but he might have potentially lost more time. Of course, he might just not have had the legs to do it.

Lampre and Liquigas have no excuse. They could have helped to bring back de Gendt, but instead, they chose to let Hesjedal do all the work, hoping that he would blow up somewhere on the Stelvio, or at least that they would take enough out of his legs to seriously affect his TT performance on Sunday. Instead, they rode their GC contenders off of the podium.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:25 PM on May 27, 2012


Chuckles: "Lest anyone think Ryder is a popular winner: Worst Grand Tour of the last decade?"

If you look through the actual comments, it looks like those few who care are mostly angry that their guys lost, not that Ryder won, the implication being that they didn't try hard enough.

The riders themselves would probably have a different angle on that.
posted by klanawa at 8:43 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


My boyfriend is in the living room watching "Stars and Watercarriers " a documentary about the 1975 Giro d'Italia.

It's really interesting (thanks for posting) and it's also really cool that Eddy Merckx is the star of the show. Merckx also plays a prominent role in A Sunday In Hell, about the 1976 Paris--Roubaix bicycle race (it's by the same film-makers I think).

In A Sunday In Hell, the filmmakers make like of Merckx's seeming obsession over the position of his bicycle seat. A little research showed me that in 1975 or so Merckx was in a car accident, and after that was in constant pain, cycling or not.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:04 PM on May 27, 2012


I've known competitive, sponsored cyclists. They were given a choice: use drugs or don't get to the next level.

Holy shit guys someone on the internet knows someone else that says everyone dopes! Cycling is over!! We better start a Senate inquiry or something. Thanks for enlightening us with your insider knowledge Dasein. I hope you don't mind us asking who your friends are, for confirmation, of course...
posted by mek at 12:59 AM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Rodriguez only has himself to blame
Yeah - he's had similar Grand Tour collapses before, I think in the Vuelta in 2010 iirc, where he was a promising leader and imploded in the time trial. He's a great rider, very exciting to watch, very capable in one-day races and in the Vuelta and the Giro, but you can pinpoint what he lacked in this and other GTs. You can't get outclimbed by a superior TTist even on one day.

I wonder what he started using to make it this year.
Consistent with likely-clean competing, Hesjedal has developed slowly, improved upon his results, done better and better in races of increasing stature and difficulty. Dopers - particularly the obvious ones - tend to come out of nowhere and blow people out of the water.

Furthermore, even if pro cyclists are taking things that are on the banned substances list, we're a far cry from the 60% hematocrit days and the days of teams all hopped up on EPO resulting in superhuman performances. That was unnatural. It's easy to say that racing now is cleaner: tests are more reliable, hematocrit levels are lower, climbs slower, etc.
posted by entropone at 1:19 AM on May 28, 2012


Rodriguez attacked on the Mortirolo, which is far better suited to his climbing style than the Stelvio. If he was going to crack Hesjedal anywhere, it would have been there. It didn't come off, but at least he tried. Give credit to Hesjedal that he matched the attacks, rather than saying Rodriguez got his tactics wrong or rode too defensively.
posted by afx237vi at 5:11 AM on May 28, 2012


A fantastic race! I really hope Ryder's win brings more attention to competitive cycling in Canada. We do have a number of talented racers (Ryder, Michael Barry, Svein Tuft, etc.) but they barely receive any media recognition. It was awesome to see Ryder on the cover of this morning's Gazette!
posted by Premeditated Symmetry Breaking at 8:10 AM on May 28, 2012


Hesjedal's victory is pretty neat (an understatement) as it's Bike to Work Week here in Victoria, and next month we're hosting our first-ever cycling festival.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:54 AM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Someday I would enjoy one of these threads where the courage and tenacity of riding a bike for 3 weeks competitively captures our imagination. The doping stuff, less so.
posted by dgran at 7:42 PM on May 28, 2012


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