Hesjedal eyes Giro repeat

The reigning Giro d’Italia champion, Ryder Hesjedal, insists his 2012 victory was no fluke and he has set his sights on retaining his title (Hesjedal 8/1 2013 Giro d’Italia – outright betting).

The 32-year-old was not ranked among the favourites at the start of last year’s race but surprised many to become the first Canadian to lift the title and earn team Garmin-Sharp their maiden Tour victory.

Like last year, Hesjedal goes into the 2013 race in decent form having finished eighth in Liege-Bastogne-Liege last month despite working for eventual winner Dan Martin.

Christian Vande Velde and Tom Danielson will support Hesjedal in his 2013 bid, while sports director Charly Wegelius can call on the experience of seven previous Giros.

Hesjedal insists that he was a worthy winner of last year’s gruelling competition and thinks everything is set for a repeat this year.

“I don’t think winning that three-week race can be a fluke,” he told Reuters. “I feel good, better than I did last year at this time. I’m ready to go.

“Obviously my bar is high, I won the race last year so that’s my personal standard for judging my results.

“There was no gift in that race, it was a day-to-day battle against strong riders. You don’t have to win another Grand Tour to validate the one before.

“The team we have here is one of the strongest we ever had if not the strongest. I think we’ve covered everything.”

Team Sky’s Sir Bradley Wiggins is the current 11/10 favourite for the contest as he bids to complete a famous double following last year’s Tour de France win.

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