Ryder Hesjedal, who grew up riding the mountain bike trails outside of Victoria, B.C. has claimed victory at the Giro d’Italia. He won the race by 16 seconds, becoming the first Canadian to win one of the three Grand Tours (the Giro, the Tour de France, and the Vuelta a España. The previous best result for a Canadian in a Grand Tour was Steve Bauer’s fourth place finish in the 1988 Tour de France. Hesjedal’s previous best Grand Tour was a sixth place finish in the 2010 Tour de France.
Hesjedal later told the CBC that he knew he had a chance to win the tour after the first time he put on the pink jersey (given to the race leader) after the seventh stage of the race.
Stephen Harper thanked Hesjedal in a statement, “This remarkable win in one of bicycle racing’s most grueling competitions is a testimony to Mr. Hesjedal’s training, endurance, skill and competitive spirit.”
Hesjedal is now one of the favourites to win the Tour de France, starting June 30th at Liege, Belgium.