Thor Hushovd became the first reigning world champion in nine years to claim a stage win in the Tour de France yesterday, according to the press. Watching him cross the finish you could tell he clearly couldn’t believe it was happening, that he had held the Peloton at bay, pretty much single handedly, crossing the line alone with the UCI stripes across his chest!
He was quoted as saying “For a heavy rider like me, to get over the Aubisque off the front and then win is something incredible, almost unbelievable,” Hushovd said. “Winning with the world champion’s jersey, alone at the line, make it the most beautiful of all my Tour wins. I never thought I could do it.”
Good on him!
Sadly though, more slander is slung at Cav; the tour organisers are vigorously denying that Cavendish was hanging on to team cars to get over the race’s high
mountain climbs following accusations by rival sprinter José Joaquin Rojas that
the he had held on to vehicles and been towed during ascents.
The Tour’s racing director, Jean Francois Pescheux was quoted as saying “Cavendish is a leader and he is under surveillance in the race, like all the leaders are,” he went on to say “There is absolutely no problem with him. None at all.” he did however have harsh words for Rojas, currently second behind
Cavendish in the Tour, commenting that he is “always looking for excuses.”
It’s not the first time he has been accused, another Movistar rider, Fran Ventoso, alleged he was using tows in the Tour of Italy back in May, Cavendish reacted angrily to those claims. “It’s always the same, if I’m dropped but I finish inside the time limit, it means I cheat. But I challenge Ventoso to spend a day with me in the peloton on a mountain stage.” I liked his retort at the time, and reading it again now, even more so!
He went on to rant; “If I stop to pee, if I crash and change a wheel, I always
have a race official – as well an ice-cream truck and a marching band – all
watching me. If I can cheat, then I’m David Copperfield,”
We have heard nothing from the pre tour favourite yet, i wonder, is it too late for him now? I reckon! It’s looking like the Spaniard’s first truly below-par performance in the Tour since he first won it in 2007.