SPORTS

Victoria's Hesjedal confirmed for Tour de France

06/10/2012 11:27 EDT | Updated 08/10/2012 05:12 EDT

Next stop, Lieges.

Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal has been confirmed for the 99th edition of the famed Tour de France cycling race, where he will be team leader for Garmin Barracuda.

The decision, made earlier this week, had been delayed to see how the Victoria native would recover after winning the gruelling Giro d’Italia on May 27.

That victory made him the first Canadian to win one of the three Grand Tour events, a group that also includes the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana.

Hesjedal, who was sixth in the Tour two years ago, will begin his new quest on June 30, in the Belgian city of Lieges with a 6.4 kilometre prologue, before setting out with the rest of the peleton a day later for a 198 kilometre race to Seraing.

Overall, the tour will features 20 stages, plus the prologue, broken into nine flat sections, four medium and five high mountain climbs, and two time trials before the final ride into Paris on July 22.

Now considered one of pro cycling’s top stars, Hesjedal clinched the Giro d’Italia on the final time trial, beating Joaquim Rodriguez by just 16 seconds overall, the second smallest margin of victory in that race’s 95-year history.

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