Born: Dec. 9, 1980.
Size: 6 foot 2, 159 pounds.
2012 highlight: Won the Giro d'Italia in May, becoming the first Canadian to capture one of Europe's Grand Tour events.
Last season: After his victory at the Giro, the Garmin-Sharp cyclist had high hopes for the Tour de France but was forced to withdraw after injuring his leg and hip in a crash. Hesjedal, who also competed at the London Olympics, finished the year 13th in the UCI World Tour rankings.
Career highlights: A three-time Olympian, the former mountain biker finished sixth at the 2010 Tour de France.
Quote: "In a lot of ways it can be harder than the Tour. It's earlier in the year. The weather can be worse. The history's just as rich. All the great champions have won the Tour and the Giro, and use the Giro as an important part of their season. I think Italians would say the Giro's bigger and better than the Tour, but for me it's a hard race ... It's just as hard [as the Tour de France], that's for sure." – Hesjedal, before starting the 2012 Giro.