Another day, another jersey change at the Giro d’Italia after Stage 7 on Saturday.
Garmin-Barracuda’s Ryder Hesjedal became the first Canadian to ever wear the maglia rosa, as his main rival lost his steam on the final climb of the 125-mile stage from Recanati to Rocca di Cambio.
The 31-year-old from Victoria, BC, has been touted as Garmin’s best hope for winning the Giro this year.
Also still in the running is US cyclist Christian Vande Velde, who rose up one more spot to 4th overall, 21 seconds behind his teammate. A third US teammate, Peter Stetina, rose to 5th overall at 26 seconds behind.
They’re all benefiting in part by Garmin’s winning finish in the team time trial on Wednesday.
Earning the pink jersey at the Giro must be the highlight of Hesjedal’s career so far. He finished 6th overall in the Tour de France in 2010, the same year he won Stage 8 of the Tour of California, finishing 5th overall in that race. Last year, he finished in the top 20 at the Tour de France.
Team Astana’s Paolo Tiralongo won Stage 7 by attacking Lampre’s legendary Michele Scarponi on the uphill finish.
Adriano Malori, who became the first Italian to wear the leader’s jersey on Friday, blew apart on the final climb and dropped far out of contention — from 1st to 78th overall.
Top 10 overall
1. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin – Barracuda
2. Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team – 15 seconds behind
3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha Team – 17 seconds
4. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin – Barracuda – 21 seconds
5. Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin – Barracuda – 26 seconds
6. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha Team – same time
7. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana Pro Team – 35 seconds
8. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale – 40 seconds
9. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha Team – 45 seconds
10. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep – 46 seconds