Norway’s top cyclist for many years, Thor Hushovd, won’t be able to attempt ending his career in a blaze of glory at the upcoming World Championships after all. A bad fall on Friday has forced him to drop his dream of becoming World Champion again, and now he’s looking at simply riding in local races instead.
“Maybe I’ll cycle in Birken,” Hushovd told newspaper Aftenposten, referring to the annual Birkebeiner cycling race that drew thousands of participants again this weekend.
Hushovd, who announced his pending retirement in June, had still hoped to cycle in the World Championships in Spain in September. He won the championships in Australia in 2010 and still thought he had a chance at the title again, which he thought would be a perfect way to end his cycling career on top.
The 36-year-old veteran took a bad fall, though, while cycling in Friday’s stage of the Tour de Poitou-Charentes n France. His hip hit the asphalt first, and in addition to being bruised and battered, his coach Atle Kvålsvoll told state broadcaster NRK that he lost the chance to compete in the important lap on Sunday and necessary training for the World Championships.That’s because Hushovd didn’t want to just have a start-number in the major event. He wanted to win it.
He cycled his last race as a pro in Norway last month, in the Arctic Race of Norway, so now it’s mostly to look forward to races like Birken and Bukkene Bruse, a local race in his hometown of Grimstad. He wants to keep riding and also is in the midst of finishing an autobiography, due out in October.
Norway secured three spots in the World Championships, and they’re now set to go to Alexander Kristoff, Lars Petter Nordhaug and Edvald Boasson Hagen. Hushovd claimed he wasn’t heartbroken, though. “In fact, no,” he told Aftenposten. “When I look back on my entire career, this doesn’t change a thing.”