Hushovd Climbs and Surges to Victory in Stage 13
Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) has won Stage 13 of the 2011 Tour de France.
Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) has won Stage 13 of the 2011 Tour de France. Norway's thunder god brought his hammer down on the opposition, surging up the Col d'Aubisque and then plunging down the long, fast descent to overtake David Moncoutie (Cofidis) and Jeremy Roy (Francaise des Jeux) in the closing km. Hushovd won the 152.5-km ride from Pau to Lourdes in 03:47:36, with Moncoutie and Roy finishing second and third, respectively, at 0:10 and 0:26. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) remains the maillot jaune.
With one high mountain stage behind and another ahead, and with the stage profile suggesting that a breakaway could win the stage, many riders attempted escapes. Eventually, Roy slipped his leash, and Hushovd, Moncoutie, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), Vladimir Gusev (Katusha), Dmitri Fofonov (Astana), Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD), Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank), Lars Bak (HTC-Highroad), and Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) followed him. The escapees reached the Aubisque with a six-minute lead on the peloton.
Hushovd attacked. Moncoutie and Roy pursued and passed the Norwegian. At the summit, Roy led Moncoutie by 0:45 and Hushovd by 2:00. On the Col du Soulor, Roy gained a little more time, but Hushovd caught Moncoutie on the descent.
The pair trimmed Roy's lead. With 20 km left, it was 1:05. Five km later, it was 0:18. Hushovd did most of the work in the pursuit.
With four km left, Hushovd dropped Moncoutie. Two km later, the Garmin-Cervelo man caught and dropped Roy. He powered home to become the first world champion to win a Tour de France stage since Oscar Freire in 2002.
Hushovd was surprised and happy about his victory. "It's the craziest thing I've ever done," the Norwegian said. "I was happy to be in the break. I was obviously strong. I went on the attack on the Aubisque so that I could ride at my own pace. My goal was to come back on the descent, which I finally managed to do. It's incredible how quickly things have turned for me. Yesterday and the few days before I was feeling tired, but I did the right thing yesterday by taking it easy and losing quite a lot of time. I think that saved my legs and that's why I won today."
Roy was crestfallen at the finish. "It's too hard to take. I will have a hard time digesting this," the Frenchman said. "I had great legs on the climb; unfortunately, I got caught on the descent. I'm not a big champion, so I do what I can with what I've got."
In the overall, Voeckler leads Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank) by 1:49 and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) by 2:06. Stage 14 will be a standing shaker. The 168.5-km ride from Saint-Gaudens to Plateau de Beille will feature six categorized climbs, including two Category 1 ascents and the Hors Categorie climb to the finish. Voeckler's time in yellow will end, and a battle for the race lead will take place. Who will win it? Who will win the stage? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and www.roadcycling.mobi to find out!