August 02, 2012 (London) – Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal has departed from London but you could say the people of London have not departed from him. “The fans for the cycling events were like nothing I have seen before,” said Hesjedal after the time trial event. “The amount of Canadian flags on the road was special.”
A 63rd in the road race and 27th in the time trial were not the results Hesjedal had hoped for. After his historic win at the Giro d’Italia, and his crash in the sixth stage of the Tour de France that took him out of the event altogether, he knew, as the lone wolf Canadian in the men’s race, his chances were limited. Why not then, look not to what you can win, but what you can experience?
Canada could only send one entry to the road race. In a team sport a lone cyclist is at an extreme disadvantage. Hesjedal knew it would be very difficult to win in a road race that was so top-heavy with excellent national teams. He also knew he wasn’t a time trial specialist, but none of this meant he didn’t enjoy the Games.
Hesjedal reflected after the race saying he “…would have liked better results, but at the end of the day, I am pleased that I could represent Canada once again on the world stage.” He clearly excels at multi-day races; not a time trial that is a shade under 40km. “I am not a time trial specialist like the riders occupying the top-10 today, but I was hopeful to have a good ride.”
He had noted before the Games began that it would be Tour de France finishers who excelled at the Olympics and for the most part this was the case. He doesn’t resent the accident that put him out of the Tour; the experience of racing in London was exceptional.
Hesjedal will return to Canada next week. “What’s on my mind is getting back to Victoria and celebrating with all my supporters.” A special event will occur at Centennial Square at 4:00 pm on August 10. Mayor Dean Fortin will preside.