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Thor Hushovd ready for ‘beautiful’ Paris-Roubaix challenge

PARIS (AFP) – Garmin-Cervelo’s Thor Hushovd said he is ready to step up and do justice to the world champion’s rainbow jersey when he bids for a maiden victory in the Paris-Roubaix one-day classic on Sunday.

Hushovd won arguably the biggest prize of his career to date last September when he triumphed in the world championships road race in Geelong, Australia.

But even while Down Under, the Norwegian, also a two-time winner of the Tour de France green jersey, was dreaming of Paris-Roubaix.

A regular finisher in the top ten, his best finish was second place last year, albeit two minutes behind unstoppable Fabian Cancellara.

“For me, Paris-Roubaix is the most beautiful race in the world. As a sportsman you have many goals, my goal is Paris-Roubaix.

“To race Paris-Roubaix in the rainbow jersey is a great honor and I will give everything I have to honor the jersey and my team.

“The competition is strong but so are we. We’re all looking forward to Sunday.”

Among other experienced campaigners in his team, Hushovd will have the support of Britain’s Roger Hammond on Sunday.

Hammond said he has struggled with allergies this spring due to the unseasonably warm weather, but he too is ready to do everything he can to protect Hushovd over the race’s 27 sectors of cobblestones which, combined, total just under 52 km on the course.

“I am really looking forward to the weekend. It is my favorite race and I look forward to it all year round so I will try with everything I have for the team,” said Hammond.

After weeks spent testing frames, wheels, tyre pressures and various other variables, Garmin-Cervelo manager Jonathan Vaughters said his team is ready to go into battle.

“The team is incredibly motivated for Sunday. We did a course recon yesterday (Thursday) and everyone seemed to be feeling good,” said the American.

“No matter what happens, you can bet that Garmin-Cervelo will race their hearts out. The motivation is there, the heart is there, the work is done. Now we race.”

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