Results tagged “Thor Hushovd” from spare cycles

Cav unbeatable

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Not an exciting stage, but a great battle for the sprint finish as sprinters Thor Hushovd and Tyler Farrar had their best shot at disrupting Mark Cavendish to get a win -- but they failed. Milram came to the front with just over 1km to go, but Columbia's Tony Martin held the Columbia train together and broke on through. The Columbia train continued to win up as Hincapie then spun it up for Mark Renshaw, with Cavendish and Hushovd behind.

Hushovd went first and managed to come around Cavendish, who waited until late to leave Renshaw's wheel. Hushovd faded as Cavendish wound it up, but Tyler Farrar was on Hushovd's wheel and got a good slingshot to the finish. It didn't matter -- Cavendish again, Four Wins.

VeloNews has a nice article on Mark Renshaw. Renshaw is basically Cavendish's guardian. When Cav was off the back at the Tour of California with a mechanical, it was Renshaw who came back to pace him back. When it comes to the final sprint, Renshaw organizes the train as is the last to break off. Solid experience, so bravo to him as well.

Update: podiuminsight sent me a link to this sporza interview with Mark Renshaw

Mark Cavendish - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Stage 2: Hushovd

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letour.jpgCancellara nearly pulled off another flier off the front of the sprint to take the stage, but it was spoiled by Pozzato, who was hoping for another repeat victory in Saint-Brieuc. Once Pozzato bridged, Cancellara sat up and the field was quick to swarm and pull ahead. Hushovd had the best legs for the uphill sprint and added yet-another TdF stage to his portfolio. Kim Kirchen showed off his well-rounded threat by taking second in the sprint with Columbia teammate Ciolek in third. Kirchen will wear the green jersey tomorrow while Voeckler will get the polka dots for his efforts in the big breakaway of the day. Sylvain Chavanel took the most aggressive award for his efforts to avoid capture as the sprint teams swept up the breakaway in the final kilometers.

Valverde defended his jersey well, even mixing it up in the sprint to take 12th. It was a smart move given that a crash took down riders on the final run-in.

Hushovd - FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

Thor Hushovd showed no ill affects of his stage 2 crash as he followed leadout-man Julian Dean's wheel to victory. Robbie Hunter followed Hushovd's wheel but couldn't come around. Quick Step and T-Mobile tried to control the leadout into the sprint, but in the end Boonen and Cavendish were nowhere to be seen. Hushovd ends the day 0:29 behind Cancellara, as Cancellara's stage 3 victory and breakaways have kept the jersey just out of reach of him this year.

It was a more typical sprint stage this time around: breakaway, well-timed catch. The sprint teams left it up to CSC to keep the five-man break of Flecha (Rabobank), Chavanel (Cofidis), Knees (Milram), Sprick (Bouygues Telecom), and Verdugo (Euskaltel) under control. Chavanel and Flecha made the most of the break: Flecha took the intermediate sprints, while Chavenel took all but one KOM -- making sure to not take the last and keep the KOM jersey with his teammate Auge. The CSC domestiques once again did a lot of work, but the sprint teams eventually sent a couple rides up to reel the break back in with 6k to go.

Zandio became the third abandon of the Tour after an early crash.

Zandio - AFP/File/Franck Fife AFP/File/Franck Fife

Tomorrow should shake things up a little -- the penultimate Cat 2 and final Cat 3 climbs are enough to create a gap and take away Cancellara's yellow jersey.

A special personal thanks to Steephill: my Comcast service went out, but I was able to find a live feed thanks to his live video roundup.

Amazingly, Vaitkus is the only rider not to start (shattered thumb). Everyone else is "sore" (quotes from cyclingnews live report):

  • Thor: "Thor fell heavily on his right side and has damaged his sciatic nerve. He has pain but he's a tough rider who will still be our protected man again today." A thousand PMU green hands couldn't take Thor out.
  • Hincapie: Sore knee
  • Bennati: Sore hip but will start. "We have decided that it’s best for him to take it easy today and instead of working for Daniele - the team’s objective is to protect Danilo Napolitano instead."
  • Fast Freddie: Sore collarbone. See also: Fast Freddie saved by Ti?](http://www.velonews.com/tour2007/news/articles/12658.0.html)
  • Cancellara: Sore wrist, but still strong enough to grab the stuffed lion and hoist the flowers. Vande Velde diary: "The Swiss bear was down but not out, he came back to dinner, loud as ever, turning on Shakira full blast during dinner. And to make it worse, he tries to sing along."
  • Cavendish: Sore left knee
  • McEwen: Stiff knee and back from Stage 1
  • Quinziato: Multiple contusions
  • Forster: Cut to left elbow. "Tonight it starts to hurt," he wrote, "I am all taped up and bathed in ice." (source)
  • Schleck: Sore elbow -- he's been riding near the back of the peloton, chatting away

Prologue Videos

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Just in case Versus didn't give you enough coverage, I've posted some videos from the finishing stretch of various riders: Julich, Hincapie, Hushovd, Rogers, Fast Freddie.

NOTE: Video shot by offtopicartistan, with the camera on loan from parakkum. I apologize for my CSC hat blocking the video from time to time.

Vuelta Stage 2: Malaga-Cordoba

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Bettini grabbed the first individual stage win of this Vuelta and Thor Hushovd showed his skill in grabbing leader's jerseys as it was a familiar scene with him pulling on the golden jersey -- he must have wanted one to replace the yellow jersey that got all bloodied and torn during the Tour de France.

I once had the opportunity to take the road from Malaga to Cordoba, but my fellow travelers preferred Granada instead. From the coverage, it looks like it an open and exposed road -- plenty of wind to batter the peloton, though with an early start the temperatures weren't as punishing as last year's Vuelta.

It was a day for the sprinters and all the sprint teams did their work -- Milram, Lotto, Liquigas, Lampre, and Credit Agricole all did their work chasing back a break by Discovery's Joachim and Cofidis' Marichal, who jumped past a break by Relax's de Sarraga. With all the work and coordination of the sprint team, It was surprising to see Bettini win the sprint finish.

Milram did the leadout train in the final kilometer, but they seemed to lead Zabel out a little too early and Zabel only managed 10th. McEwen had a bit of trouble with his leadout getting stuck behind Hushovd. As McEwen was giving up his sprint, Bettini came jumping out from behind him and took the stage win.

Sastre had a flat in the final kilometers, but it didn't matter much as he was awarded the same time as the peloton. Either way, he was going to lose his jersey to the finish line bonuses.

Julian Dean Diary

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I read Julian Dean's Diary for the first time today -- he's Thor Hushovd's leadout man -- and found it an entirely appropriate summary of this first week of racing: yellow jerseys, crashes, and McEwen.

juliandean.co.nz

Stage 4: Huy - Saint-Quentin

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McEwen got his second win on a relatively calm day for the peloton. The weather was slightly cooler and the Tour ended its road trip through the classics, leaving Belgium and entering France for good. McEwen made the win look easy, winning by at least five bike lengths. There was a bit of chaos in the final sprint as Hushovd's leadout man crashed, but Hushovd had already grabbed another wheel and the rest of the sprinters made it around on the uphill finish without any problem. Hushovd's arm must be feeling fairly good as he was able to hold the fourth spot ahead of Boonen. Zabel didn't get to compete in this sprint as he got a flat tire in the final kilometers.

As a result of the sprint, McEwen moves into the green jersey and 6th overall at 0.12 back. Boonen gets to hold onto his one second lead in the yellow jersey for at least one more day. The KOM jersey stays on Pineau's shoulders as he won the first KOM sprint on the day over the other KOM contenders.

Discovery put Egoi Martinez into the main breakaway on the day and Martinez was able to rack up 18-seconds worth of time bonuses through the three sprint points, leapfrogging him into fifth overall. Discovery now has the 3rd, 5th, and 7th position overall. So, to update my analysis from last night, Discovery is in a really, really strong position right now. Bruyneel will have a lot of cards to play if his riders do well in the time trial.

It nearly looked like the breakaway might succeed as none of the sprint teams were coming forward in the final kilometers to lead the charge, but with about 4k to go the pace really picked up and the remainder of the break was caught with 2k to go.

Prediction check: * My prediction: Boonen first, McEwen second * Actual: McEwen first, Boonen fifth (will I learn?)

Stage 1: Strasbourg - Strasbourg

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Jimmy Caspar took advantage of the favorites marking each other to sprint around for the finish. Boonen came to the front and looked over his shoulder at McEwen, Zabel, and Hushovd on his wheel. In the meantime, Caspar came flying around Boonen's left and there was little Boonen and the others could do to hold it. Caspar got the stage win and the green jersey as a result, which should make for great celebrations in France right now -- a double win, really, given their World Cup victory over Brazil.

The biggest prize on the day went George Hincapie, who snuck in an attack at the final sprint point to take 2 bonus seconds, which was enough to take back the yellow jersey from Thor Hushovd. This is Hincapie's first ever yellow jersey, which has to feel sweet after helping Lance put on so many and after narrowly missing out on getting one yesterday. Hincapie's lead on Hushovd and Boonen is very narrow, especially with a week of sprint stages still left, but we shall see how Discovery chooses to defend it. It does appear that Discovery wants to attack this race from start to finish, which should make for some exciting racing to come.

There was a long seven-man breakaway during the stage that didn't lead to the stage win, but Fabian Wegmann managed to get himself the first KOM jersey by winning the sprint up the baby climb on the day.

Hushovd had the worst day of the bunch: in addition to losing his yellow jersey lead, he arm made contact with a spectator's banner as he raced up the right side. He was seen bleeding quite a bit at race's end, but according to his team he will be alright.

Prediction check: * My prediction: Boonen 1st, McEwen 2nd * Actual: Caspar 1st, McEwen 2nd, Boonen 13th

Prologue: Strasbourg ITT

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[Strasbourg - Strasbourg , 7.1km]

Thor! I never thought that OLN host Al Trautwig would get a pick right, but he outdid the followers of the conventional wisdom like myself who thought that Zabriskie would ace this one. This probably won't be the last stage that Hushovd adds to his tally -- there are plenty of opportunities in the opening week for him to outsprint the pack. It might have even been Landis competing for the top time on the day if it weren't for the fact that he lost about eight or nine seconds at the start house. He arrived late because they decided to change one of his tires at the last minute because of cuts that could have lead to a flat.

I enjoy watching the prologue: it can tell you quite a lot about how the Tour is going to shape up. Given the emphasis on long time trials this Tour, a prologue performance is an important indicator. Lets look at the standings:

1 Thor Hushovd, 8.17.00 (51.43 km/h)
2 George Hincapie, 0.00.73
3 David Zabriskie, 0.04.21
5 Alejandro Valverde, 0.04.92
8 Paolo Savoldelli, 0.08.02
9 Floyd Landis, 0.09.26
12 Tom Boonen, 0.11.21
14 Cadel Evans, 0.13.24
29 Bobby Julich, 0.18.84
32 Yaroslav Popovych, 0.20.02
36 Levi Leipheimer, 0.21.60
49 Jose Azevedo, 0.24.90

Some observations:

  • Valverde is living up to his odds-on-favorite status. With a top five prologue time trial and his excellent climbing ability, he can get seconds out of his competitors any which way.
  • Landis, Hincapie, and Savoldelli also stood out with their strong prologues (subtract eight seconds off of Landis' time). Hincapie should be a protected rider after a performance like that and Savoldelli might get a little wind shelter as insurance.
  • Boonen is in great position to grab a yellow jersey
  • Was is the two-year-absense or the lack of performance-enhancing drugs that was responsible for Millar's below-expected performance?
  • I'm still holding out hope for a Zabriskie yellow jersey after the Stage 7 time trial
  • Leipheimer's time wasn't bad, but it doesn't scream 'future Tour winner'

Summaries:

Prediction stats: * My prediction: Zabriskie first, Hincapie second * Actual: Zabriskie thrid, Hincapie second