Norway’s top cyclists are vying for one of the three spots granted the country in the upcoming world championships in Spain next month. Norway ranks 15th in the world, resulting in the three spots that Alexander Kristoff, Thor Hushovd, Lars Petter Norhaug and Edvald Boasson Hagen all want.
Only Kristoff, fresh from his latest victory in the Arctic Race of Norway, seems to be guaranteed one of the three spots. He told newspaper Aftenposten over the weekend that he thinks the retiring Hushovd should also get one of them, in gratitude for his contribution to the sport of cycling over the years. Hagen, who’s had a disappointing season and is set to be leaving the Sky team, and Nordhaug will likely need to battle for the third sport.
Kristoff, meanwhile, said he was more than ready to assume Hushovd’s spot as Norway’s cycling star. not least after rolling past him in the weekend cycling race that swept over Northern Norway last week. He’s had a great season, winning the classic Milano-Sanremo last spring, then two stages of the Tour de France and then the Arctic race of Norway.
Hushovd, meanwhile, has been plagued by illness and a few poor seasons, and announced earlier this summer that he’d be retiring after the upcoming world championships, which he won in 2010. He’s still hoping to retire in style by performing well in the world championships. He regretted being beaten by Kristoff at the finish line in Tromsø on Sunday.
“You don’t get anything for free despite long and true service, that’s for sure,” he joked afterwards. “This was my last race in Norway and it was a bit sad.” With Kristoff’s win, the passing of the crown was complete.