Hushovd Wins a Rainy Stage 6
On a day of crashes, wet roads and rolling climbs, Cervélo’s Thor Hushovd powered his way to a sprint win ahead of three-time world champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank).
Garmin-Slipstream’s David Millar survived from an early breakaway until the final kilometer, where the lanky time trialist was reeled in as the course kicked sharply upwards. Although not a categorized climb, the pitch hit 6.6 percent before easing off near the finish, and was enough to shake points leader Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) from his position near the front.
At the start, Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) told VeloNews he’d put his money on sprinters who could get up the steep kick: Freire, Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) or Hushovd.
Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) kept his yellow jersey, and Astana rode at the front for much of the day to protect its GC riders, who hold the other top-5 overall spots.
At 5km to go, Millar had 37 seconds and was trying his legs against those of Milram and Rabobank domestiques. But it was not to be. At 2km to go, Millar took a righthand bend that put him onto the steep climb, and the day’s efforts took their toll. He didn’t get the win, but he did earn the most aggressive award.
As the bunch charged towards the line, Freire opened up the sprint with Hushovd on his wheel, and the big Norwegian muscled his bike ahead for the win.