VEDELAGO, Italy (VN) – When Ryder Hesjedal retires from cycling, perhaps he should consider becoming a professional poker player.
Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) doesn’t give anything away. He is so calm, cool and collected going into this weekend’s nail-biting finale to the Giro d’Italia, you would never know that he was on the cusp of becoming the first Canadian to win a grand tour.
If Hesjedal is cracking under the pressure, he certainly isn’t showing it.
“There’s no sense in being crazy and getting stressed out,” Hesjedal told VeloNews with a laugh. “I am pretty laid back. At the end of the day, it’s still just a bike race.”
Well, the Giro might be just another 21 days in the saddle for Hesjedal, but the cycling world is at the edge of its seat as the 95th corsa rosa roars into three decisive final stages. Hesjedal made it through Thursday’s jaunt to remain within striking range of race leader Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), just 30 seconds behind the pink jersey, but he’s somewhat bewildered at the growing hub-bub around his Giro ride.
In a sport known for its uptight and nervous GC contenders, Hesjedal is without question one of the most relaxed riders in the bunch. The vibe with Hesjedal is always chilled out and mellow. There is never any outward sense of tension, nerves or undue stress.
A former mountain biker from Canada’s British Columbia, it’s perhaps no coincidence that Hesjedal likes to spend his off-seasons on the beaches of Maui.
Those close to him say that hasn’t changed over the past few weeks as he’s emerged as Public Enemy No. 1 to the Giro’s top favorites.
“Ryder is so laid-back, he’s almost horizontal,” Garmin sport director Allan Peiper said. “I haven’t seen any nervous changes in him at all. He is quieter than normal, but in a good way, with his feet firmly on the ground.”
While Hesjedal has kept his cool demeanor off the bike during this Giro, on the bike he’s been a beast, proving on an international stage what many observers of his steady progression since joining
To read the whole story, visit here: http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/05/news/easy-ryder-calm-before-the-mountain-storm_220782