World Champion Thor Hushovd: "Paris-Roubaix haunts me."
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

World Champion Thor Hushovd: "Paris-Roubaix haunts me."

by Jered Gruber at 2:48 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Garmin-Cervelo leader makes no excuses about Flanders, looking ahead to his favorite race

Garmin-Cervelo went in to Sunday's Tour of Flanders as the odds on favorites to be the team that could possibly dethrone the mighty Fabian Cancellara. However, for the second straight Monument, the team of Jonathan Vaughters fell alarmingly short. The three-headed monster of Farrar, Hushovd, and Haussler were not a part of the race's finale.

Farrar finished as the best placed Garmin-Cervelo rider in 13th, whilst Hushovd followed in 53rd, and Haussler in 61st.

Afterwards, the World Champion, Thor Hushovd, spoke with about the disappointing lap of Flanders and makes no excuses.

"I do not know what's happening. We race extremely well, and then suddenly, the tank is completely empty when we have to be there."

Indeed, there's no question that Garmin-Cervelo rode strongly in every phase leading up to the decisive end game. They were a part of the early break, and behind, constantly well-represented at the front of the peloton. When the racing heated up, the team's leaders melted though.

Hushovd says it comes down to one thing and one thing only, and it has nothing to do with luck: "No, it's just that we are not physically strong enough, pure and simple. We do not have the legs."

The 33 year old Norwegian, who now calls Monaco home, seemed too tired to come up with excuses after the race.

"I have no more energy in my legs. I wanted to be completely at the front, but I did not make it today."

Unfortunately, it was Hushovd who incited the final tango. On the Haeghoek cobbles, it was Hushovd who accelerated first, Boonen followed with a monster acceleration, which was only followed by Fabian Cancellara and Filippo Pozzato. After that, well, the story is known: Cancellara attacked on the Leberg, left everyone gasping, bridged across to Chavanel, cracked on the Muur, and eventually finished an agonizing third.

So Hushovd had an ideal position to see the events unfold. He watched the defending Flanders champion exit the confines of the group of leaders, and like everyone else, he figured that was the day. Except, like everyone else, he was wrong.

"As Fabian went, I was sure we would never see him again, but he is only human."

With Flanders done and bumped through, Hushovd can now turn his attention to the race that he loves more than any other, well, the race he loves more than all other along with the one whose jersey he wears.

"It is the best race, along with the World Championships. Paris-Roubaix haunts me," said the Roubaix podium finisher to

Speaking separately to La Voix du Nord (and quoted from Cyclism'Actu), the fast finishing Norwegian voices his dream - the dream we all know at this point - the dream of hoisting the Roubaix cobble over his head on the top step of the podium while wearing the Arc en Ciel on Sunday.

"I had never seen pave before coming to race in France and Belgium. Paris-Roubaix is the most beautiful and biggest race! I do not know who the last rider was who won with the rainbow jersey, but I dream of doing it. I'm ready."

Hushovd will put his name next to four other World Champions if he can manage to pull off the win in the Roubaix Velodrome on Sunday. Bernard Hinault was the last to do it, in 1981. Moser accomplished the feat in 1978, while Merckx did it 1968. Rik van Looy pulled off the astonishing World Champion Roubaix victory not once, but twice, and in consecutive years: 1961 and 1962. [Credit goes to Podium Cafe for that flurry of information]



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