World Champion Thor Hushovd Brings Great Thunder to Pyrenees Winning Stage 13 of Tour de France 2011

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07/15/2011| 0 comments
by AP and Roadcycling.com
Team Garmin-Cervélo's World Champion Thor Hushovd climbs to impressive stage victory in stage 13 of 2011 Tour de France. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Team Garmin-Cervélo's World Champion Thor Hushovd climbs to impressive stage victory in stage 13 of 2011 Tour de France. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

World Champion Thor Hushovd Brings Great Thunder to Pyrenees Winning Stage 13 of Tour de France 2011

Team Garmin-Cervelo's Norwegian God of Thunder Thor Hushovd won the 13th stage of the 2011 Tour de France and France's Thomas Voeckler kept the yellow jersey Friday on a ride through the Pyrenees that ended in the city of Lourdes - the home of one of the most famous Catholic shrines.

Team Garmin-Cervelo's Norwegian God of Thunder Thor Hushovd won the 13th stage of the 2011 Tour de France and France's Thomas Voeckler kept the yellow jersey Friday on a ride through the Pyrenees that ended in the city of Lourdes - the home of one of the most famous Catholic shrines.

Team FDJ's Jeremy Roy nearly captured his first Tour de France stage victory with a courageous attack at the foot of the huge climb to Col d'Aubisque. But the Frenchman couldn't hold off Hushovd and David Moncoutie, who overtook Roy near the finish line and finished second.

"I really didn't think I would win this stage," said Hushovd who was also part of his Garmin-Cervelo team's victory in the stage 2 team time trial. "I did things right tactically."

Voeckler was part of the main pack that lagged nearly nine minutes behind Hushovd. He held the overall lead for another day heading into a mammoth climbing stage. Defending champion Alberto Contador of Spain and Team Saxo Bank-SunGard and two-time runners-up Andy Schleck (Team Leopard-Trek) and Cadel Evans (Team BMC Racing), did not chase as they in uninspiring fashion chose to conserve energy for Saturday.

"I was pretty tired from yesterday and tomorrow's a big day," Evans said after the stage and notably added "There'll be fireworks, don't worry."

None of the main rivals took any time off each other, and there was no repeat of Thursday's attacks in which a weary Contador lost 13 seconds to Schleck and Evans.

Frank Schleck is second overall -- 17 seconds ahead of Evans, 28 seconds ahead of younger brother Andy and 2:11 clear of Contador. Contador has been nursing a sore right knee after hitting it twice in separate crashes.

"I don't feel any pressure," Frank Schleck said and continued "I'm convinced that I'm not going to have any regrets tomorrow."

Hushovd, a two-time winner of the Tour's green points competition jersey, won the 156 kilometer stage in 03 hours, 47 minutes, 36 seconds. He is more used to dashing to the finish line in tough sprints than grinding uphill, but he has worked hard on his climbing ability to become a more complete rider.

"It's the best stage I've ever won on the Tour de France," said Hushovd, who has nine individual stage victories and two more from team time trials. "To win on my own is even more special. It's very emotional for me."

Thor Hushovd rode his way to victory on his brand new Cervélo S5 road bike introduced to him shortly before the beginning of the Tour. On his way down from the Col d'Aubisque, Hushovd reached a dangerous maximum speed of 112 km/h.

Having done his hard work climbing, Roy played it safe descending the 26 miles to the finish. He had a nervous moment when a fan brushed him with a flag, causing him to swerve. But he still seemed set for victory until Hushovd -- a world champion rated among the best in downhills -- started attacking on the descent.

"It's true that I descend very well,"

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