— Canadian Ryder Hesjedal
gave the Garmin-Transitions
team a much-needed lift on Tuesday with a gutsy, aggressive ride through the fearsome, cobblestone-heavy third stage of the Tour de France
. Hesjedal went hard from the start, joining a breakaway on his Felt F1 team bike
and staying strong all the way to the end of the brutal 213km stage from Wanze, Belgium, to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut in northern France.
After being at the front for nearly 200 kilometers, Hesjedal was finally caught near the finish of a stage that forced riders to race across Paris-Roubaix style cobblestone roads. Even after being alone at the front for many of the cobblestone sections, Hesjedal managed to latch on to the charging lead group and finish the day fourth.
Hesjedal’s fine ride came one day after the Garmin-Transitions team was heavily damaged by the scores of crashes that took place on Stage 2 in Belgium. Sadly, team GC leader Christian Vande Velde
took the worst of it, breaking several ribs and having to abandon the race.
But Stage 3 was a different story. Adding to Hesjedal’s great ride was more good news when sprinter Tyler Farrar,
badly injured in a crash the previous day, was able to finish. With a broken bone in his arm, Farrar wasn’t sure he would be able to race on the cobblestones, but he endured the pain and made it through the day. Also riding injured was David Millar and Robbie Hunter; both finished Tuesday’s Stage 3.
As for Hesjedal, the strong ride moved him up to fourth place overall on GC. And as Garmin-Transitions team director Jonathan Vaughters commented via Twitter Tuesday, “Hesjay can climb a bit too.”
So despite the crashes and injuries, Garmin-Transitions is back in the game.
TOUR DE FRANCE
Stage 3, July 7
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor), Cervelo Test Team, 4:49:38
2. Geraint Thomas (GB), Sky, same time
3. Cadel Evans (Aus), BMC, same time4. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Garmin-Transitions, same time
5. Andy Schleck (Lux), Saxo Bank, same timeGENERAL CLASSIFICATION
1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), Saxo Bank, 14:54:00
2. Geraint Thomas (GB), Sky, at 0:23
3. Cadel Evans (Aus), BMC, at 0:394. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Garmin-Transitions, at 0:46
5. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra), Quick Step, at 1:0112. Johan Van Summeren (Bel), Garmin-Transitions, at 1:47
15. David Millar (GB), Garmin-Transitions, at 2:06