Commentators in Norway were saying that star cyclist Thor Hushovd has “never been so strong” after he claimed his eighth Tour de France sprint victory on Tuesday.
Hushovd himself relished winning the third stretch of this year’s Tour de France (PicApp photo at right), not least after feeling robbed of important points the day before, but he’s far from satisfied. He aims to win more stages and pedal into Paris wearing the coveted green jersey.
“It’s fantastically wonderful to be back in green,” Hushovd said after winning the right to wear the green jersey for Wednesday’s stretch. “Now the Tour de France is saved for my part. I’ll just enjoy the rest.”
With champagne glass and bottle in hand, he told reporters in Arenberg, France, though, that “I want to win both more stages and cycle onto the Champs-Elysees in the green jersey, of course.
“But this really means a lot.”
Hushovd had just won the Norwegian championship when the Tour de France started in Rotterdam over the weekend. Its second stage on Monday was marred by slick roads and multiple collisions, prompting the race leader to hold back cyclists from sprinting forward at the end, in protest over racing conditions. Hushovd didn’t agree with that, and felt cheated.
He was happy again after the 213-kilometer stage from Wanze in Belgium to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, which included cobblestones that caused problems for others including punctures, bike breakdowns and ugly collisions. While even experienced cyclists like Lance Armstrong and Fränk Schleck had trouble, Hushovd stayed in front.
At the end “I was strong and just stepped on the gas, wonderful,” he told Kristiansand newspaper Fædrelandsvennen, the main paper in the southern Norway and near Hushovd’s hometown of Grimstad.
Tuesday’s victory was Hushovd’s eighth, since he won his first stage from Cluses to Bourt-en-Bresse in 2002. The cycling veteran was especially pleased given injuries and illness during the winter. “So it’s an enormous relief to be able to stand here in green again,” he told Fædrelandsvennen.
He was back on his bike Wednesday afternoon, for the fourth stage from Cambrai to Reims, cycling a distance of 153.5 kilometers.