Hushovd draws first blood as the Belgian season opens
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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hushovd draws first blood as the Belgian season opens

by Steve Jones at 7:00 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics
 
Norwegian Thor Hushovd won the semi-classic Het Nieuwsblad (formerly Het Volk) in convincing style today, a well-deserved ending to a strong showing by his Cervélo TestTeam. He beat Kevyn Ista from Agritubel and Rabobank's Juan Antonio Flecha in a sprint in the traditional Belgian seaon opener.

Norwegian Thor Hushovd won the semi-classic Het Nieuwsblad (formerly Het Volk) in convincing style today, a well-deserved ending to a strong showing by his Cervélo TestTeam.  He beat Kevyn Ista from Agritubel and Rabobank's Juan Antonio Flecha in a sprint in the traditional Belgian seaon opener.

While Rabobank had the numbers in the end, their constant attacking proved to be ineffective with the hole left by the absence an injured Oscar Friere.  Having no match for the likes of Hushovd, Boonen, and Pozzatoin a sprint finish meant the Dutch team had to get away if they wanted to take the win.

The most promising move for Rabobank was when Sebastian Langeveld and Heinrich Haussler from the Cervélo TestTeam got broke away in the closing kilometers.  Haussler's presence in the break allowed Hushovd and Klier, both from Cervélo TestTeam, to sit on while Sylvan Chavanel from team Quick-Step

buried himself to close the gap for teammate Tom Boonen. Having Haussler, a great sprinter that's on the form of his life, as company meant Langeveld would have his work cut out for him if they were to survive to the finish.

The slight rise going into the finish proved to be too much for the breakaway giving a fresh Hushovd the perfect opportunity to power away from the competition, courtesy of the "Klier Express", and easily take the win.  As he crossed the line a disappointed Filippo Pozzato from team Katusha was picking himself up off of the pavement, and Quick-Step's Tom Boonen was likely steaming from his 10th place finish courtesy of the pileup.  Boonen will surely be looking to repay a super Chavanel's efforts on the day.

Cervélo director Jean-Paul Van Poppel commented, "Andreas caught the breakaway of Heinrich and Sebastian Langveld of Rabobank within the last 200 metres and provided the perfect leadout to Thor."

This day saw an amazing set of results continue for the new Cervélo TestTeam, that all began with Roger Hammond's win in Qatar.  The team's great morale has transferred perfectly to their racing as they were able to school the competition in Gent.

"When they attacked with 40 km to go, me and Andreas just sat in while the chase was on not having to work too hard which was perfect for us," said Hushovd.  "It was too bad for Heinrich that he got caught with only 200 metres to go. Klier told me in the last 100 metres to take his wheel and we had a perfect leadout. It was a great win for me and for Cervélo TestTeam."

Tomorrow in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne you can expect another strong showing from Cervélo, and an energized Quick-Step, Greg Van Avermaet and Katuysha trying to even the score.


1 Thor Hushovd - Cervelo Test Team in 4:47:45 (42.641 km/h)
2 Kevyn Ista - Agritubel                                 
3 Juan Antonio Flecha - Rabobank                         
4 Greg Van Avermaet - Silence-Lotto                      
5 Marcus Burghardt - Team Columbia - Highroad            
6 Frédéric Amorison - Landbouwkrediet - Colnago          
7 Andreas Klier - Cervelo Test Team                      
8 Heinrich Haussler - Cervelo Test Team                  
9 Niki Terpstra - Team Milram                            
10 Tom Boonen - Quick Step

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