Climbing skills serve Ryder Hesjedal well in Spain

Pair of solid finishes for pro cyclist move him up in standings

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Colwood-raised Ryder Hesjedal showed his intense stamina and climbing ability over the weekend by winning the mountainous 14th stage on the Vuelta a España pro road cycling race in Spain.

Hesjedal, who had edged away from the small lead group with about two kilometres to go, was overtaken briefly in the final climb to La Camperona by Oliver Zaugg of Switzerland.

The Canadian gutted it out in the final 200 metres, overtaking an exhausted Zaugg to win his second-ever stage in the Vuelta in five hours, 18 minutes and 10 seconds.

Hesjedal, who won the Giro d’Italia in 2012 and was fifth in the 2010 Tour de France, posted his other stage win in the 2009 Vuelta. The three races make up cycling’s Grand Tour.

Combined with a 10th-place finish in Stage 16, La Farrapona, on Monday and a 36th-place effort in Stage 15 the day before, Hesjedal sat 24th overall, 40:22 behind leader Alberto Contador, who won Monday’s stage.

After a scheduled rest day Tuesday, the riders tackle the speed-oriented, 190.7 km Stage 17 on Wednesday (Sept. 10).

editor@goldstreamgazette.com