Thursday’s Denver Post includes an article from John Henderson about what winning the Giro would mean to the Argyle Armada. Henderson says that Team Garmin, in its few years of existence, has had a few incredible months. July, 2011 with Thor winning stages of the Tour and wearing yellow. April, 2011 with Johan Vansummeren’s improbable win at Paris-Roubaix.
But May could shape up as the team’s best month ever. Garmin’s Dave Zabriskie won the Tour of California time trial and the team put him and Tom Danielson on the podium.
Then the team won the Giro d’Italia’s team time trial, putting Ramunas Navardauskas in the race lead for two days. And this week, Ryder Hesjedal moved into a very strong position to win the Giro overall. Sitting in second just 30 seconds back, Hesjedal is causing a bit of panic among the Giro favorites. Sunday’s final stage is a time trial, a discipline that suits Hesjedal much better than the race’s current #1 and 2 riders.
Hesjedal winning the Giro d’Italia would be by far the biggest trophy in the team’s trophy case. ”If we were able to win a Grand Tour, that would be incredible,” said team director Jonathan Vaughters in Henderson’s article. “That’s the real underdog story. We’ve built a program slowly but steadily. We’re one of the top four teams in the world, but as far as budgets go, we’re not even one of the top 10. For us to pull off a Grand Tour victory with the resources that we have would be unprecedented.”
Mark Johnson’s new book Argyle Armada tells this underdog story. Embedded with the team for its entire incredible 2011 season, Johnson’s words and photographs reveal the insides of a pro cycling team, from sponsorship negotiation to race wins to crushing defeats.
Chapter 8, on the Canadian Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and Montréal, are particularly revealing about the things and people who motivate Hesjedal, including thoughts of the young Canadians who see his photos in magazines, as well as Hesjedal’s wife, Ashley. Voted Canada’s cyclist of the decade, Hesjedal is the descendent of a great grandfather who emigrated from Norway to Canada in 1886. On the road today Ryder shows many traits of the quietly diligent ancestors. Jonathan Vaughters also provides his thoughts on what it will take for Hesjedal to win a big race–read the chapter to find out if JV was right and how Hesjedal met his wife!
Take a look at Ryder Hesjedal in this photo gallery drawn from the book Argyle Armada.
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