Slipstream's Canuck, Ryder Hesjedal braved the 'sterrati' (gravel roads) to finish strong at the Monte Paschi Eroica race in Siena, Italy on March 8th. Eroica is Italian for heroic and that's what I call his ride! It should be called the gravel race where throughout the 180 km course, hills and gravel roads peppered the riders. For a ryder I mean a rider like Hesjedal this course was made to measure. Hailing from Victoria, British Columbia and with an accomplished list of victories as a former mountain biker, Hesjedal seemed at home on the 'sterrati.'
He got in an early break and with 25 km to go took a flyer and broke away ... alone! Hesjedal looked very good for the win. But, soon Fabian Cancellara and Alessandro Ballan caught up to the soloing Canadian. The Swiss Cancellara was too strong as he overpowered Ballan for the victory. As for the heroic Hesjedal, he helped guide teammate, Martijn Maaskant(Holland) for the sprint finish. And a great one it was; for Maaskant(4th) and Hesjedal(10th).
"Though I was completely envisioning winning solo and I was going for it, was almost there. Today is about as good as it gets," exclaimed the elated Hesjedal.
With a 'Ryder' like this, he looks destined for more greatness. I'm looking forward to seeing him ride well in this month's Tirreno-Adriatico!
(photo): Ryder Hesjedal going solo and daring to win.