Friday, May 20, 2016

Giro '16 Report 2: the stealth campaign

The Giro d'Italia is mostly invisible on Canadian television, and Ryder Hesjedal has been nearly invisible in the race: no stage wins, no breakaways, no drama.  Clive Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist continues to be pretty much the only Canadian sports journalist to take an interest.

But just as you can work around the non-coverage with online sources, Ryder's running a pretty solid stealth campaign if you know where to look.  No stunting, no fireworks, not much in the TV coverage, but a very solid steady performance with no mistakes or mishaps. Now, halfway through, he stands 13th overall as of yesterday's 12th stage (of 21), well positioned for the big-finish final days.

He's almost four minutes behind the current leader and the likely winner is probably in the top 5 already. But several of the 12 riders ahead of Hesjedal are not expected to hold up in the big mountain stages to come, so he's distinctly among the contenders. He was something like 26th in the first days, and has steadily improved his standing each day.

Canadians Hugo Houle and Svein Tuft? Farther down, let us say.

Image:  @ryderhesjedal

Update: .... and having that written, I see today was not so good.  Hesjedal holding 14th, but losing another minute to Nibali, Valverde, and other race favourites.  Holding 14th indeed, only because the non-climbers are being winnowed out.

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