Jul 23rd, 09. Hushovd was the surprise rider today, winning the Most Combative award on the Queen stage of this year's Tour de France.
Hushovd leading the stage (c)Sirotti
No one told the big Norwegian that the Queen day of the Tour, with four Cat 1's and a Cat2 climb, was supposed to be the hardest day for the peloton, let alone the sprinters.
Whilst Hushovd's main rival for the green jersey, Mark Cavendish, struggled at the back of the race, Thor Hushovd was out the front.
Determined to earn the green jersey outright, and put the controversy of Cavendish's disqualification behind him, Hushovd attacked alone over two first-category climbs.
He won two intermediate sprints midway through the course to gain 12 additional points. He now leads Mark Cavendish by 230 points to 200.
Hushovd now only needs to get to Paris and he'll win his second career green jersey.
"I think this is the best day I've ever had on the bike. Maybe I was making a statement, but at least I've got more points in case something happens in the coming days. If I win the jersey by 10 points, I can say that I had built a sufficient buffer on this stage to Le Grand Bornand."
"I felt good in the first pass and when Thomas Voeckler attacked I decided to follow him. I took a few points for the intermediate sprint and with a beautiful descent I managed to take 6 points twice. I am super happy with my day," said Hushovd.
On receiving his Most Combative Award, Hushovd said, "This is a new award for me. It's very rare for a sprinter to take [this award] especially in the mountains, but as I said, this was the best day of my life!"