Hushovd to start season tomorrow, repeat Het Nieuwsblad win looking unlikely
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hushovd to start season tomorrow, repeat Het Nieuwsblad win looking unlikely

by Conal Andrews at 8:52 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Tour de France Green Jersey winner Thor Hushovd will finally get his season underway when he lines out in the Volta ao Algarve tomorrow. The Cervélo Test Team rider was originally due to begin on February 3rd but was forced to scratch from the line-up for the Etoile de Besseges due to illness.

Exactly two weeks later, he will pin on a number for the first time, rejoin the peloton and crank up the intensity of his efforts. Bunch sprints are expected on two or three of the stages and so he has, in theory, opportunities to fight it out for a victory. However it may take him a while longer to get back up to speed.

“I travel to Portugal without any expectations,” he told TV 2 Sport in Norway, “but am very pleased to get started. On the whole, I look forward to feeling like a cyclist again.

“I’m fresh now, but I have unfortunately not been able to train at full force until recent days. I lost nine days of training due to sinusitis. It is clear that we are a little concerned when you lose so much training. It is not exactly ideal, but I hope I will be able to quickly build up my form.”

Hushovd took his first win of the 2009 season in the Het Nieuwsblad semi-Classic, previously known as Het Volk. This year’s race will take place in twelve days time, making it unlikely that Hushovd will be in sufficient shape to repeat his success.

However, as he said in a statement earlier this month, it was better to miss Bessèges and be sure that he wasn’t doing any damage to his health.

"Of course it is annoying that I should skip the season’s first race,” he said then. “But I am thinking long-term and I don’t want to take a chance on running myself down with an illness in my body so early in the season. There are many important races to come.”

His chief season targets are to win Paris-Roubaix, to successfully defend his green jersey in the Tour de France, and to take the world championships in Australia next October.

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