Thor Hushovd dismisses Mark Cavendish's chances in Geelong
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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thor Hushovd dismisses Mark Cavendish's chances in Geelong

by Jered Gruber at 6:12 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Norwegian champion ready to fight for the Rainbow Jersey on Sunday

Thor Hushovd, never one to mince words, especially when it comes to Mark Cavendish, admitted in a telephone chat with the Norwegian newspaper, Dagbladet, that "Mark Cavendish is absolutely right. I have not even thought of his name amongst the riders I think will be a part of the finale."

It doesn't seem that the two rival sprinters agree on much, but at least on paper, it seems they both agree fully on the chances of Cavendish. However, Hushovd's strong words could well light a fire under the temperamental butt of the Manx fast man. In the world of Mark Cavendish, it's likely one thing for him to concede that he's not going to be a factor, and another thing entirely when Thor Hushovd tells him that's the case.

Taking a closer look at his own form, Hushovd is feeling confident in his chances on a course that looks significantly harder than originally thought.

"It's a hard track. I do not think you can compare it to Classics like the Tour of Flanders, which takes place in the spring and partly on cobbles. Therefore, it is more nature to compare it with previous World Championship courses. I don't think it really matter, because I think it's a course that I can do well on."

Hushovd appears to have come out of the Vuelta in fine condition and perhaps quietly moved into position for his best chance ever at a World Championship. Now, more than ever, Hushovd has shown himself as not quite fast enough in a pure bunch sprint, but the fastest in the world if any type of selection has been made. With that in mind, Hushovd is licking his chops in advance of Sunday. A select group sprint would work well for the Norwegian, but he's not ruling out a breakaway either.

"I feel like the condition is there. I will try to stay in for a sprint and save the most energy in the peloton, or try to get into the right break."

Hushovd will likely have to play off the moves of the powerful nations though. Between Edvald Boasson Hagen and himself, the two accrued enough points to give Norway nine riders at this year's World Championships. Unfortunately, Norway didn't have enough riders on the UCI rankings list to get that many riders - so they'll take the line in Melbourne on Sunday with only Hushovd, Boasson Hagen, and Alexander Kristoff.

"It is first and foremost the major nations that scare me - Italy, Belgium, Spain, and Australia all have strong teams. Of the riders that I think have a chance: Philippe Gilbert, Filippo Pozzato, and Oscar Freire."

When pressed on the topic of the course, Hushovd takes a step back and reminds that the course will not be a mystery for anyone. The multiple laps to finish the race will ensure that everyone knows what's to come as they head into the finale.

"It's not hocus pocus. We are going to be well acquainted with the course after eleven laps."

The eight hour time difference between Europe and Australia has been a woe cited by many of the riders, but Hushovd says that he feels just fine heading into the weekend.

"I've certainly been able to acclimatize myself. I feel healthy and fit and in good shape. Therefore, there should be no problem for me to be 100% on Sunday."

Even as a 100% fit and ready former Tour de France Green Jersey winner on Sunday, Hushovd recognizes that anything can happen on Sunday. Like any one day race, luck and split second choices will play just as much of a role as his fitness en route to Geelong.

"Although I feel that I have done the right things, I also know that chance plays a part. You have to have the day, and there are many factors that much fall into place at the right time."

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