Hushovd wins Het Nieuwsblad
Oakley’s Thor Hushovd lived up to his promise to focus more on the Classics this season by taking an important victory in Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad that officially opened the Belgian racing calendar.
The Cervelo rider beat Belgian Kevin Ista of the Agritubel team in a crash-marred sprint at the end of a 205-km trek around Gent, with Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha of the Rabobank team taking third place.
Several riders crashed some 300 metres from the finish line and Hushovd took full advantage of the resulting chaos to jump out of the leading group and become only the ninth non-Belgian rider to win the 64-year-old race.
Hushovd, who won the green jersey for the best sprinter in the Tour de France in 2005, kept quiet all day, following the pace set by the favourites’ group.
By the time the 20-man group came round the final corner of the race he was one of the few pure sprinters still in contention.