Europcar interested in signing Thor Hushovd for 2012
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Europcar interested in signing Thor Hushovd for 2012

by Shane Stokes at 9:20 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Team wants world champion to boost its chances of a ProTeam licence

Thor HushovdDetermined to push for UCI ProTeam status for the Europcar team, manager Jean-René Bernaudeau is currently studying the list of available riders for the 2012 season and appears set to aim big. According to Ouest France, Bernaudeau wants to boost the team’s strength via the addition of the current world road race champion Thor Hushovd.

If the bid is successful, the Norwegian would join attacking Frenchman Thomas Voeckler and others as part of the team.

Hushovd is currently halfway through a one year deal with the Garmin-Cervélo team. He came across after the previous Cervélo Test Team ground to a halt at the end of last season. He has had a somewhat frustrating year thus far, taking just one victory: a stage in last week’s Tour de Suisse.

Still, his form appears to be coming good at just the right time and he will head to the Tour de France motivated to add to the eight stage victories he has already picked up in the race.

As for the Europcar team, the squad has had a superb start to the season, picking up a total of 19 victories. Voeckler himself has taken nearly half of those; his eight wins include a stage plus the overall in the Four Days of Dunkirk, one in the Tour of the Mediterranean and two in Paris-Nice. He is regarded as a big contender for stage victory in the Tour de France, with some punchy finishes suiting his characteristics very well.

Before then, Voeckler will aim to defend his French road race title. The team will enter a strong contingent in the championships, seeking to keep the distinctive tricolour jersey within its ranks.

While Garmin-Cervélo will be keen to keep Hushovd on board, much will depend on what budget it has for 2012. It is known that things were stretched thin after the Cervélo riders moved across. Hushovd’s agent Alex Carera said in April that he believed the team would pay Hushovd a bonus for his worlds win when extra cash became available.

The Norwegian rider has had to ride for fellow sprinter Tyler Farrar at several points this year, and also played a team role in Paris-Roubaix when Johan Van Summeren was clear in a break. The Belgian rider ultimately won the race.

The Garmin-Cervélo team is currently finalising its roster for the Tour de France. Both Hushovd and Farrar will head there hoping to land stages, and so it will be interesting to see how things work out between them. Farrar is probably quicker in a flat sprint, while Hushovd has the edge on tougher terrain.

Should the world champion opt to head to Europcar, it is probable that he would have greater personal freedom as the team doesn’t have a rider like Farrar on board.

However there are many factors to consider, including the fact that Europcar’s chances of getting a ProTeam contract will hinge not just on the Norwegian, but also on what other riders it has on its roster for the 2012 season.

Hushovd has been with French teams for much of his career, competing with Credit Agricole between 2000 and 2008.


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