Ryder Hesjedal’s seventh-place finish at the Tour de France is an inspiration to developing riders in Canada, an official with the Canadian Cycling Association said yesterday.

Chief executive officer Greg Mathieu said the historic finish — the best result for a Canadian in 22 years — puts the program that helped develop Hesjedal “on the map.”

“It’s really a stimulus for the Canadian road-cycling program,” Mathieu said. “It shows other people who are developing that a Canadian rider can be in the top 10 in the world at the ultimate event.”

The 29-year-old Victoria native entered this year’s tour, his third, as a support rider for his team’s star, Christian Vande Velde, who withdrew after the second stage due to a pair of broken ribs.

Hesjedal should return to compete in Canada when the world’s best riders and teams converge in Quebec for a pair of UCI ProTour events on Sept. 10 and 12.

The Grand Prix Cyclist de Québec (Sept. 10) and the Grand Prix Cyclist de Montréal two days later will be the only ProTour events in North America.

Mathieu said Hesjedal racing in the Tour de France is an “incredible athletic accomplishment” and the dream of Canadian cyclists who begin road racing.