Hushovd Wins Stage 6 of Tour
Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) has won Stage 6 of the Tour de France. Norway's thunder god won a bunch sprint to take the rolling, 181.5-km run from Girona, Spain to Barcelona, Spain in 4:21:33. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) finshed second, and Joaquin Rojas Jose (Caisse d'Epargne) took third. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) remains the maillot jaune.
Gray skies greeted the riders. Before the Cote de Tossa de Mar (55 km), Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), David Millar (Garmin), and Stephane Auge (Cofidis) escaped. At 61 km, the trio led the field by 2:25, and the fugitives' advantage maxed out at 4:00 as rain began to fall.
Astana went to the front, but Katusha and Cervelo relieved the Kazakh squad eventually. Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel) bridged up to the trio. With 29 km left, the trio's lead was less than 1:00. Millar attacked.
The Scot's lead grew to more than 1:00 as the peloton, led by Rabobank and then Astana, chased. Remi Pauriol (Cofidis) bridged up to Txurruka. With 25 km to go, the bunch caught Auge and Chavanel. With 11 km remaining, the peloton overtook Pauriol and Txurruka.
A left-hand turn took down several riders, among them Tom Boonen (Quick Step). With five km left, Millar led the peloton, which Rabobank and Milram led, by 0:37. On the steep climb leading to the finish, the bunch reeled in the Garmin man. The stage came down to a sprint, which Hushovd won.
In the overall, Cancellara leads Lance Armstrong (Astana) by .022 seconds and Alberto Contador (Astana) by 0:19. Stage 7 will change the standings. The 224-km ride from Barcelona to Arcalis in Andorra will feature the Category 1 Col de Serra-Seca and the hors categorie finishing climb. Look for a showdown at the finish, with Spanish riders taking prominent roles. Check in at www.roadcycling.com to see how the stage turns out.
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