It isn’t everyday cyclists can ride shoulder-to-shoulder with a Giro d’Italia Champion, but Saturday was one of those days for 2300 lucky riders at Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.

RYDER HESJEDAL’S TOUR DE VICTORIA ROLLS OUT. ©TOURDEVICTORIA

2012 Giro d’Italia Champion Ryder Hesjedal started the Tour de Victoria nine years ago as a way to introduce cyclists of all abilities to gran fondo riding.  This year, just like years past, Hesjedal cycled all 160km, including 2200m climbing, around the British Columbia provincial capital, Victoria.

He told the Times Colonist it was not a typical Saturday ride-in-the-park, “It was good. I mean, I had fun. I struggled. It’s not easy. It’s still 160 kilometres. It doesn’t just happen.”

BEAUTIFUL BRITISH COLUMBIA. ©TOURDEVICTORIA

Cyclists traveled from eight Canadian provinces, 11 U.S. states and 10 countries to participate.

Raphael Lalumier was the fastest rider, winning in 4:35:24 from a large sprint finish of 30 lead riders.

Esta Bovill won the women’s race in 4:43;44, finishing 27th overall.

Full Tour de Victoria results here.

GRAN FONDO CALENDAR NORTH AMERICA here

GRAN FONDO CALENDAR EUROPE here

GRAN FONDO CALENDAR UK GREAT BRITAIN here