Hushovd disappointed but philosophical about missing Tour de France
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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Hushovd disappointed but philosophical about missing Tour de France

by Shane Stokes at 4:38 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Olympics, Injury
 
Norwegian relieved to find out why his form was poor this spring

Thor HushovdDouble stage winner last year, Thor Hushovd has admitted that missing the Tour de France will be hard for him to take. "It's a really big disappointment. The Tour is my favourite race and where I have always done my best championship results, other than my world championship,” he said, opening up about his emotions after it was confirmed in recent days that he wouldn’t take part.

“It's something I've always been proud to be a part of. I'm sure when I see it start on TV, it will be very hard for me. But sometimes things don't go the way you expect."

Hushovd’s success last year as world road race champion was one of the highlights of his career, and continued an utterly remarkable run in the Tour. He’s ridden the past eleven editions, finishing all bar the first of those, and took stages in 2002, 2004, and in every edition from 2006 to 2011. He also picked up the green jersey in 2005 and 2009.

Those statistics underline how important the race has been to the Norwegian, and underline why he’s so disappointed to miss out this year, his first season with the BMC Racing Team. Major successes were predicted with his move to the squad, but the year has been a disappointing one to date.

Hushovd has battled hard to try to get results, but has been floundering. Because of that, the diagnosis of a virus is something which is a relief, in that it explains what went wrong.

"I had been really confused the whole spring. More sick than normal and working much harder than I was used to,” he said, explaining what he went through. “I was concerned that something was wrong but I didn't know what the problem was until they discovered the lingering effects from the viral infection."

When the BMC Racing Team revealed on Monday that he’d miss the Tour, it also said that he’d forgo the Norwegian road race championships. The thinking is to ensure that Hushovd is fully recovered, mentally and physically, and then builds up again to make the most of the rest of his year.

"Right now, I'm still in a bit of hard times,” he said. “I'm going to take at least one week off the bike and then I'll do training to prepare for the races in Pologne and then the Olympics. By that time, I'll be good."

He hasn’t ridden the Tour of Poland due to its clash with the Tour de France, but will try the event out this year. "Whenever I go to a race, I would like to try and get the win,” he said, speaking about his usual approach. “But my first goal is to get back in my race rhythm and find my form. That's why I'm going there. That's the most important thing."

Hushovd has taken a lot of success in the Tour de France, but he has also won other big races during his career. His worlds triumph in Australia in 2010 is the top example; yet to be achieved is victory in Paris-Roubaix, but he’ll have a chance to try again next year. Before then, he will seek to use his all round strength plus his rapid finish to try to net another major target; the Olympic road race in London.

If he does that, securing a gold medal in an extremely hard-fought event, it will go a very long way towards making up for the Tour disappointment.

In chasing that goal, what will be important is to get rid of the pure sprinters such as Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel and others. This will enable those quick finishers with more rounded talents to fight for the win.

Hushovd’s yet to try out the route, but has got an idea of the details.

"I haven't done the course but I know how it's going to be from reading about it,” he said. “I know it's a challenging course and it's going to be a bit hard."

“The small teams will make it more complicated for everybody, including Norway. It's hard to say, but of course we'll have a strong team there. So we're not far apart from other teams in terms of riders who can do something."

Amongst the riders Hushovd will collaborate with is Edvald Boasson Hagen, the winner on today’s stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné. They are quite similar in terms of attributes, and could present a formidable double-whammy if the tactics play out in their favour.

The world road race championships could also suit him in theory, providing his climbing form is good at that point of the year.

Two major goals, and his health apparently on the rise; it’s difficult for him to miss the Tour, but he’s got plenty to aim for over the next five months.

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