Giro champion Hesjedal leads Team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda in Beijing

Date: 7th October 2012

Photo Credit: Graham Watson

Giro d’Italia champion Ryder Hesjedal is heading into the final WorldTour event of 2012 seeking to cap of the biggest year of his career in the best possible fashion.

Hesjedal created history as the first Canadian to win a Grand Tour when he took out the Giro earlier this year.  And to sweeten the achievement, he also became just the second man in history to win the prestigious Grand Tour on the final day of racing.

Despite a year that started with the first WorldTour event in Australia, Hesjedal still feels he has something left in the legs for the five day race around the Chinese capital. That and his passion for racing at the highest level have brought him to Beijing.

“It’s WorldTour racing,” Hesjedal said from the team hotel in Beijing.

“If I made it through the Tour (de France) and had my normal schedule I probably would have stopped after Montreal like the last couple of years but I left the Tour after only getting a week in and only having the Olympics left me a little short of race days through August.”

The past month has made up for that with the world championships, Quebec and Montreal plus Piemonte and Lombardia so Hejsedal is carrying that into Beijing.

“I started the season at Down Under and it’s almost been like two seasons in a way.”

With no time trial and a more mountainous route, the Canadian hopes the course will suit him and the team.

“Some of the riders that are here, that shows they are hoping that there is some selection in the GC on some days and that will shape the race for the overall,” he said.

“We have Dan Martin and myself who can be there on the hilly selective days so we’ll see if we can be part of that.

“On the days for the sprinters we’ll be looking to set up Heinrich, so I definitely think the team is suited to whatever the race has for us.”

Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda’s roster includes Thomas Dekker, Vuelta a Espana stage winner Dan Martin, 2009 top-ten Tour de France finisher Christophe Lemevel, young American Alex Howes and Australian Heinrich Haussler, a Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana stage winner, who will return to China hoping to replicate his stage win at the inaugural Tour of Beijing last year.

Rounding out the squad are 2011 Paris-Roubaix champion Johan Vansummeren and German national road champion Fabian Wegmann.

The 2012 Tour of Beijing kicks off on Tuesday and runs from the 9th to the 13th of October as the last event on the UCI WorldTour calendar. Starting from the historic Tiananmen Square the five-day Tour will also feature some of China’s top tourist attractions including the Bird’s Nest Stadium and the Great Wall.

Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda Team – 2012 Tour of Beijing

Thomas DEKKER (NED, 28): A two-time national time trial champion (2004 & 2005) and winner of the 2006 Tirreno–Adriatico and 2007 Tour of Romandie. Has had a reasonably quiet 2012 in his first year with Garmin-Sharp.

Heinrich HAUSSLER (AUS, 28): Stage winner at last year’s Tour of Beijing. Won the points classification at this year’s Paris-Nice to go with his stage victories in the 2009 Tour de France and 2005 Vuelta a Espana. Was a German junior national time-trial champion, but was born in Australia and has since ridden for Australia in senior world championships. Best result in 2012 was a 3rd at the GP Ouest France.

Ryder HESJEDAL (CAN, 31): Became the first ever Canadian Grand Tour winner when he won the Giro d’Italia in the final stage time trial earlier this year. Finish 2nd in the Amstel Gold Race and 3rd at the GP Montreal in 2010. Was nominated as the team’s designated leader for the 2012 Tour de France but was forced to withdraw due to injuries from a crash on stage six.

Alex HOWES (USA, 24): A talented young rider, Howes’ career highlights to date include winning the USA under-23 national championships road race and criterium in 2009, placing fourth overall in the 2011 Tour de Beauce and being part of a team time trial victory in stage two of the Tour of Utah.

Daniel MARTIN (IRL, 26): Having ridden professionally since 2007, Martin has enjoyed success in some of the tour’s biggest races.  In 2011 he won stage 9 of the Vuelta a Espana and finished 8th in the Tour de France time trial.  He has also won the Tour de Pologne in 2010 and was the Irish road race champion in 2008.

Christophe LEMEVEL (FRA, 32): Will be the final race for Lemevel for Garmin-Sharp who will join Cofidis in 2013. Career highlights include a stage win at the Giro d’Italia in 2005 and a top ten finish at the Tour de France in 2009.

Johan  VANSUMMEREN (BEL, 31): Winner of the 2011 Paris-Roubaix, 2007 Tour of Pologne and 2006 sprint classification at the Tour of Britain.

Fabian WEGMANN (GER, 32): Germany’s current national road race champion who also won the national title in 2007. Also has number of top ten finishes including eighth at the Amstel Gold Race. Just signed for a further two years with Garmin.

2012 Tour of Beijing Stages:

Stage One – Tuesday 9th October
117km – Tiananmen Square to Bird’s Nest Olympic Piazza

Stage Two – Wednesday 10th October
126km – Bird’s Nest Piazza to Men Tou Gou Yong Ding River Cultural Square

Stage Three – Thursday 11th October
162.5km – Green Sea Forest Park to Yan Qing Ba Da Ling Great Wall

Stage Four – Friday 12th October
165.5km – Yan Qing Gui Chuan Square to Chang Ping Stadium

Stage Five – Saturday 13th October
182.5km – Chang Ping Stadium to Ping Gu Centenary Square