Thor Hushovd Blazes to Stage 3 Win in 2010 Tour de France

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07/6/2010| 0 comments
by AP and

Thor Hushovd Blazes to Stage 3 Win in 2010 Tour de France

Fabian Cancellara reclaims overall Tour lead. World Champion Cadel Evans (Team BMC Racing) finishes 3rd, Andy Schleck 5th.

Norwegian God of Thunder Thor Hushovd of Cervelo TestTeam won a bumpy stage 3 of the 2010 Tour de France over famous cobblestones near Arenberg today, while Lance Armstrong was held up by a crash in front of him and then a flat tire and lost time to other title contenders.

Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara, who finished in a five-man group behind Hushovd, regained the yellow jersey that he had ceded just a day earlier to France's Sylvain Chavanel.

Hushovd finished ahead of Britain's Geraint Thomas and Cadel Evans of Australia in a sprint finish among the leading group of riders.

"To win on this day on the cobblestones really means a lot to me. The team was perfect today. I really want to compliment them. They were really motivated and they gave me so much help to keep me in a good position. I needed to stay in the front group and avoid trouble, I knew I would have a good chance. That's what I did and I was able to win," a proud and happy THor Hushovd told after the finish.

Hushovd added "I am really proud to win today. It was a special stage, and a nice win. I have had my eye on this stage for awhile and it's great that it worked out. I am really satisfied. It was nice to win in the Norwegian national jersey, but I am also happy that I know have the green jersey."

Chavanel wore the yellow jersey for Tuesday's 213-kilometer ride as the race headed from Wanze, Belgium to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut in France.

But the Frenchman had to cope with two flat tires, along with a mechanical problem, and lost time on Cancellara.

"It's not bad, I just didn't have the legs," said Chavanel, with his face caked in dust. He won Monday's stage in a breakaway that took a lot out of him. "I had a nice day in yellow, over the cobbles, it's great."

Team BMC Racing's World CHampion Cadel Evans finished 3rd today and said "Just to get through it as a GC rider - and get through it without losing any time - was all that I wanted." Evans added "They weren't going to let me go anywhere. I'm not quite built for the cobbles. With the wind and everything, there wasn't any chance for any big heroics."

Frank Schleck of Luxembourg, who won the Tour of Switzerland last month, crashed on the fourth of seven sectors of cobbles. His Saxo Bank team said he was out of the race and taken to a hospital with a broken collarbone.

Cancellara, who won the opening prologue, was delighted to retrieve the leader's jersey.

"Yesterday I gave it up, today I took it," he said. "We can call it a good day for Saxo Bank despite the loss of Frank, a great friend."

Defending Tour champion Alberto Contador - whose abilities on cobbles had been in doubt - and last year's runner-up Andy Schleck - Frank's younger brother - were among the title contenders who gained time on Armstrong.

Andy Schleck was fifth, in the same time as Hushovd: 4 hours, 49 minutes, 38 seconds. Spain's Contador came in 13th, 1 minute, 13 seconds back. Armstrong was 32nd, 2:08 back.

In the overall standings, Cancellara leads second-place Thomas by 23 seconds and two-time Tour runner-up Evans by 39.

Contador is ninth, 1:40 back, and Armstrong tumbled to 18th, 2:30 back.

The cobblestones stage, which tests bikes and bodies alike, had been billed as the biggest trouble spot of the first week, even after two straight days of crashes on slick roads. It was the first time the biggest race in cycling had covered cobbles since 2004.

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Click here for stage 3 results.

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