Thor Hushovd hopes to learn from his classics specialist neighbour
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thor Hushovd hopes to learn from his classics specialist neighbour

by Ben Atkins at 12:13 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, World Championships
 
World champion hopes that training with Philippe Gilbert will rub off on him

Thor HushovdThor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) is hoping that taking in some training sessions with his Monaco neighbour Philippe Gilbert (OmegaPharma-Lotto) will help him to improve his performance in the classics, according to Dagbladet.no. The World champion, who will switch to the Garmin-Cervélo team in 2011, is alredy an accomplished rider in the flat cobbled races like Paris-Roubaix, but wants to improve in the hillier races of the Ardennes.

“I want to train a lot together with Gilbert,” Hushovd told Norwegian news agency NTB. “The hope is that he’ll give me the necessary challenge and that I will therefore have some "free" training. He is one of the peloton’s strongest riders, and he is the best at what I want to do better: medium-sized climbs.”

Gilbert is currently considered to be the best rider in the World at hilly races; this year he won the Amstel Gold Race in April and the Giro di Lombardia in October, as well as two stages of the Vuelta a España and finishing on the podium at Liege-Bastogne-Leige. He was the overwhelming favourite for the World Championship road race that was won by Hushovd but his strong, final lap attack was chased down, allowing the Norwegian to sprint to victory.

Hushovd’s coach Atle Kvålsvoll is also very keen on the idea of the World champion absorbing some of the Belgian’s experience.

“There's a whole bunch of pro riders who live in Monaco, including Tom Boonen, Mark Renshaw, Simon Gerrans and Jeremy Hunt,” he said, “but Gilbert and Thor is a great combination.

“We will try to coordinate some sessions with Gilbert.”

While it might be difficult to imagine the muscular frame of Hushovd fighting side by side with Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli) on the slopes of San Fermo della Battaglia at the end of Lombardia, as Gilbert did this year, an improvement in his climbing could see the big Norwegian over the hills in the Tour de France; it could also improve his chances in races like the Ronde van Vlaanderen.

The question then remains as to whether Gilbert will knowingly “coach” a rider who would become a big rival to his best friend Tom Boonen.

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