Thor Hushovd, the veteran Norwegian cyclist, could once again savour a sweet cycling victory after he won the third stage of the Tour of Poland race on Tuesday. Now he may be rolling towards another ride in the cycling world championships in September.
Hushovd, who won the world championship in 2010, had a disappointing season last year, had to miss the Olympics in London and didn’t make his team’s cut for this summer’s Tour de France. Now he’s shown himself to literally be back in the saddle, after delivering another strong finish in the Polish race this week.
It was his fourth victory of the season and Hushovd, who rides for the BMC team, was said to be the strongest in the mass sprint during the Tour of Poland’s third stage from Krakow to Rzeszow. He completed the 226-kilometer course with what Oslo newspaper Aftenposten called his “characteristic strong finish.”
Hushovd himself credited his teammates for also doing “a good job” and said he was “very happy about this victory.” He stated in a press release from BMC that he felt “quite self-confident” and that “the team also had faith in me. That really helped.”
TV2’s cycling expert Johan Kaggestad said that Hushovd’s victory shows the 35-year-old veteran from Grimstad on Norway’s southern coast is “in very, very good shape. He’s back at the same level where he was in 2011,” before a virus caused his problems last year.
Hushovd won two stages of the Tour de France in 2011 and badly wanted to participate again this year, but wasn’t chosen. He has, however, won the Norwegian Championship this year along with laps of the Tour du Haut Var and Tour of Austria. Now he has his eye on the world championships and Kaggestad thinks he’ll ride.
“To me, there are four (Norwegian) men fighting for three spots (in the world championships): Thor Hushovd, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Alexander Kristoff and Edvald Boasson Hagen,” Kaggestad said. “Kristoff isn’t as good as Hushovd on hilly terrain.” Hagen, meanwhile, is still recovering from a broken shoulder in the Tour de France.
Others aren’t so sure, with the head of Norway’s national cycling team Stig Kristiansen telling Kristiansand newspaper Fredrelandsvennen last week that this year’s world championship course is “very tough” and “best-suited” for Hagen and Nordhaug. “The fight for the third spot is still open.”
Hushovd’s victory in Poland can only help his chances. The Tour of Poland (external link) runs through Saturday. The World Cycling Championship for 2013 (external link) will roll in Italy from September 22-29.