Ryder Hesjedal: Ready For The Corsa Rosa

Go Ryder!

Ryder Hesjedal, aka The Weight of the Nation, will lead a solid squad of Garmin-Barracudas this Saturday of the Giro d'Italia.

Starting in Herning, Denmark for stage 1 with a 8.7 km TT, it will be the most northerly location in the history of the Giro. And, this is where Captain Hesjedal will make his mark, to lead his fellow GB's to, I believe a top 5 placing.

And, there's plenty of depth to guide Hesjedal: Christian Vande Velde, Tyler Farrar, Jack Bauer, Robbie Hunter, Ramuna Navardauskas, Alex Rasmussen, Sebastien Rosseler, Peter Stetina. The third stage will be dedicated to the late Wouter Weylandt, killed on stage three of last year's race descending the Passo del Bocco. Farrar will want to win this emotional stage for his late friend.

Jonathan Vaughters has assembled a team to go for the win. And, Hesjedal has placed well in the 2010 Tour with an incredible 7th place performance so he's raring to place high in the Giro. He's quietly confident,

I know what it's like to be there. If I can carry it over to the Giro, I should be up there, maybe even better than a top 10.

With seven mountaintop finishes and the penultimate stage finishing on top of the Cima Coppi, Passo dello Stelvio should more than provoke the climbers to act, especially Hesjedal. He'll look towards the last week of the high mountains to concentrate his firepower.

The best ever Canadian finish was in the 1987 Giro with Steve Bauer placing tenth. I'm sure many Hesjedal fans, myself included, will be wearing their Weight of the Nation t-shirt.

My Canadian lucky charm is ready.