PORTO SANT’ELPIDIO, Italy (VN) — Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) lost a key helper in his bid for the overall Giro d’Italia victory today. Shortly after the race left Urbino, Tyler Farrar crashed, abandoned, and left his friend to fight on.
Garmin pushed ahead despite the loss at kilometer 23 in today’s sixth leg. The team had Christian Vande Velde and Peter Stetina helping Hesjedal in the mountains. They hit the front, limited the escapees’ advantage, and just missed putting Hesjedal in pink by 17 seconds.
Hesjedal and Vande Velde arrived together at the team bus, parked in a lot that overlooked the Adriatic Sea. They looked fatigued from the effort and disappointed in the missed chance. Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD) now leads, Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) is in second at 15 seconds back and Hesjedal is in third at 17 seconds.
Fans passed and asked for water bottles. They watched Taylor Phinney arrive at the nearby BMC Racing bus. Hesjedal re-emerged after 15 minutes and a shower to explain just what is and isn’t possible or expected.
“[Am I] waking up every day thinking I can win the Giro d’Italia? Not really,” he told VeloNews. “I’m just doing the best I can; we’ll see where that gets me. I’m a realistic guy. I also know what I’m capable of and I’ll push forward and see what I can get.”
Lampre team manager, Roberto Damiani said that 24-year-old Malori is unlikely to keep the pink jersey tomorrow and that he’ll work for Damiano Cunego and Michele Scarponi. It leaves the door open for Hesjedal or one of the other top favorites to move into the overall lead. It might be just what Hesjedal needs in case he doesn’t win the final maglia rosa at the end of the three weeks.
He continued, “I haven’t stood on a Grand Tour podium before. If you look at the riders, Scarponi or Joaquím Rodríguez, I’ve been racing them for years. I know my limits, what I’m capable of. I’m going to try the best I can, it’s not going to change my mindset.”
The race faces its first mountain finish tomorrow to Rocca di Cambio at 1392 meters. “Do I want to put on the pink jersey for the first time? Sure. We’ll see what I’ve got to do and the right moment to do that.”
Despite losing a key helper in Farrar, the team is now able to focus completely on the general classification.
“We came here with multiple objectives objectives: trying to win stages with Tyler, trying to win the team time trial, and then trying to focus on the GC!” sports director, Allan Peiper told VeloNews.
“Everything is going to be for Ryder now. Obviously, if there’s a bunch gallop, Robbie [Hunter] will have his chance. Basically, the whole team is around Ryder now.”