Hushovd unsure if he will extend with Garmin, wants more opportunities
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hushovd unsure if he will extend with Garmin, wants more opportunities

by VeloNation Press at 7:11 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics
 
Rider agent says that world championship bonus is yet to be paid

The move of Thor Hushovd to the Garmin-Cervélo team raised the possibility of the Norwegian winning many races in the world champion’s rainbow jersey, but what would be a very powerful image hasn’t happened yet this year. Sixth place on a stage of the Tour of Oman is as close has he has got thus far.

Hushovd has expressed a degree of frustration with regards to his time with the team, saying that he should have been given more chances.

“I am pleased that I managed to get into top shape for Paris-Roubaix, and that one of my team-mates (Johan Vansummeren) won the race. Beyond that, I'm just unhappy,” he said, according to FVN.no. “In some cases it has been fine. But, yes, I wish I had more opportunities to go for the win.

“I feel like I'm on a good team. [But] I have a lot of big goals that I would like to achieve. I have no intention of ending my career as an auxiliary rider.”

Hushovd has spent some of his time on the team working for others, including leading out Tyler Farrar for a stage victory in Tirreno-Adriatico. The following day, he was arguably the strongest rider in the finale of the race, dropping Farrar from his wheel during the leadout.

However his dream of winning a spring Classic in the rainbow jersey was foiled by a crash in Milan-Sanremo, missing the crucial move in the Tour of Flanders, and then riding to protect Vansummeren’s lead in Paris-Roubaix.

“In some cases, it has clearly not been good for me to be on this team,” he said, raising the possibility that he could go elsewhere when his current contract ends at the close of this season.

Bonus remains unpaid?


According to procycling.no, another reason for Hushovd to feel a little frustrated is because of the non-payment thus far of a win bonus for the world championships.

It quotes his agent Alex Carera as saying that there was a verbal agreement between the rider and Jonathan Vaughters prior to the worlds in Australia.

“Normally, the world champion will be rewarded for such a title,” he said. “Before the race I spoke to Jonathan Vaughters about it and he promised a bonus if Thor would win in Geelong. We have not seen the money,” he stated.

However he believes Vaughters will do what he can to honour the agreement. “Jonathan is a man who usually keeps his promises. We hope to receive money in advance of the Tour de France, and I know he is working to raise funds.”

The website states that the team is looking for additional sponsorship at present.

Carera said that other teams have expressed an interest in signing Hushovd when his contract expires, but that the rider and his agent would speak to Garmin-Cervélo first, giving it a chance to renew.

If he does stay put, it’s likely that he will want things to be run a little differently. “There was too little control,” he said, referring back to the Classics. Hushovd said that there needed to be a clearer strategy at the races, and clearly defined leaders who would be protected and allowed to go for the victory.

“I got mixed feelings,” he told FVN.no, referring to Paris-Roubaix. “I had been waiting all spring for good results, and then it's frustrating not being able to go for the win. Do not get me wrong, cycling is a team sport, and I was happy for Vansummeren and on the team's behalf, but I have been too good shape to be left with so little. I should have done more with the rainbow jersey on.”

Hushovd has been trying to win Paris-Roubaix for several seasons, and previously placed second in 2010 and third in 2009. He had to be content with eighth this year. However it is uncertain if he would have been able to beat Fabian Cancellara, who managed to break free from the chase group inside the final five kilometres of the race, catch the break and nab second behind a solo Vansummeren.

Had Hushovd stayed with Cancellara in that final attack, his argument that he could have won would have been a more convincing one.

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