Posted by Editoress on 03/30/06
Ryder Hesjedal Interview
Ryder Hesjedal continues to develop his skills in the professional road peloton in Europe, racing for the Phonak ProTour team. Last week he finished 17th overall in the Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale Coppi-Bartali in Italy, with a strong 6th place finish in the 2nd stage. Currently, he is racing in Belgium in the Driedaagse van De Panne-Koksijde. We spoke with Ryder yesterday at his hotel room in De Panne.
Canadian Cyclist - So how did it go today?
Ryder Hesjedal - I finished with the main bunch; we had a guy in the break for a long time,but then the pace picked up and it was mostly brought back. It was so hard, but I'm feeling pretty good.
CC - You had a really strong race last week at Settimana
RH - Yeah, I felt I was riding good. It was very hard, cold and raining with some 5 K climbs, but this was the first time that I had made the final selection (in a stage) on the second day. It's nice when it goes that way, to be in the selection, to be sprinting for third against (Paolo) Bettini; I felt like I was part of the race, in there. Now I have to just keep trying to do it.
CC - And the team, how is it going with Phonak - a new team for you?
RH - Perfect. We've had a good start for the team, with the Tour of California and Paris-Nice (both won by Floyd Landis), so that's good for morale on the team. This seems to be a transition year for the team - iShare (a U.S.-based software company) seems to be coming more on board, maybe taking over more from Phonak, and it's a huge, growing company. (Note: Hesjedal is in the first year of a two year contract with the team)
CC - What about your program, what's coming up next?
RH - After this I go back to Girona (Spain, his European base) for a few days and then Wevelgem next Wednesday and Paris-Roubaix on the weekend. Then I get a bit of a break, three weeks off. I'm coming back to Victoria - it'll be different to see Victoria in the spring, been a few years since I've been there for that!
After the break I've got Clasica Internacional a Alcobendas, Catalunya and then Dauphine Libere, so it's a pretty busy spring. Then I get some time to come home and prepare for the Nationals, it's in my program, two weeks after Dauphine. After that, the Tour of Germany, buildingup to the Vuelta. I'll see where I am then, but normally it would be the Worlds and some Fall Classics.
CC - So no Tour (de France) this year?
RH - It's too early for that talk! It isn't in my program, and I'm just focussing on the program I have. For me this year is looking towards the Vuelta. I haven't paid enough dues yet to get into the Tour, it normally takes years to get there, but definitely I want to be there at some point.
CC - It sounds like things are going pretty good.
RH - Everything is going in the right direction; I'm feeling more confident, starting to know the races, what to expect. This is my second de Panne, third Wevelgem, second Paris-Roubaix.
Knowing the races, how it can go, that is when you can start to make a difference, do something different in a race.
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