Thor knocks down the door
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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Thor knocks down the door

by Nick Mulder at 10:51 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) succeeded in winning stage three of the Tour of Missouri. After 187 kilometers of rolling terrain from Farmington to Rolla. Hushovd sprinted past Argentinean Juan Jose Haedo (Saxo Bank) and Italian Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) in the chaotic finish. In the process, the powerful Norwegian collected enough bonus seconds to take the overall lead from British rival Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC).

Team Cervelo dethroned Cavendish and his team by creating a hectic finish that saw them pour the pressure on to Columbia-HTC early on with German Heinrich Haussler and Brett Lancaster attacking in the final two kilometers.

"Lancaster attacked in the finale and put pressure on Columbia's Hincapie and Cavendish so I followed him and sat on his wheel and had a great sprint the last 15 meters. Cavendish is the fastest sprinter in the world at the moment so it always feels good to beat him. I'm really happy for myself and also the team,” Hushovd concluded after his victory.

Columbia-HTC revealed a chink in their armor as they were unable to control the finale that saw many riders put in desperate attacks, dreaming of a stage victory, but the speed of the peloton kept victory out their grasp. The chaos worked in Cervelo’s favor as they still had several cards to play. Director Sportif and former Tour de France stage winner, Jean- Paul van Poppel provided some insight into Cervelo’s tactics:

"We discussed this last night and again this morning and we knew we had to do something different then we did before. So, no more lead outs and we also wanted try to get the train out of balance.

"The boys did a great job today starting to ride at full speed in the last 2 km. Then with 1.2 km to go Brett Lancaster launched an attack and the train from Columbia and Cavendish had to react to that and that killed them completely, to have to come back it took 700 metres and then they were only 500 metres to the finish line. They came back on his wheel and from then on they were exhausted. Then other teams came in and Thor was still there in a good position and he was able to sprint to the win.”

While Cervelo succeeded, Garmin-Slipstream’s tactics were questionable as they sent both Will Frischkorn and Mike Friedman up the road to accompany Australia’s Matt Wilson (Team Type 1). As Frischkorn drove the break, Friedman conserved some energy for the finale but was still no match for the chasing peloton as they passed him and Wilson with eight kilometers remaining.

Tomorrow’s stage covers 176 kilometers from St. James to Jefferson City and will see the peloton travel over the same deceivingly arduous terrain that could see a big break with the right composition ride away for the stage win.

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