2011 Tour de France, stage 3: Thor Hushovd
Hushovd gets his number pinned. Photo: Graham Watson | www.grahamwatson.com

REDON, France (VN) — Cue up the tune to “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” in your mind, then put in these words: There’s only one, Thor Hushovd. There’s only one, Thor Hushovd.

For the last few years, rabid Scandinavian cycling fans have sung this and more at full drunken volume along the roadside of the Tour de France.

And they’re absolutely right.

When taking geography, strength and accomplishments into consideration, there truly is only one Thor Hushovd.

Consider these distinguishing firsts:
-first Norwegian to win road worlds
-first Norwegian to lead the Tour de France

And on stage 3 of the Tour de France, Hushovd notched another first. Flying through the streets of Redon, the world champion led out his teammate Tyler Farrar for the win while wearing the race leader’s yellow jersey.

A select few other world champions have worn the yellow jersey. And in recent years, world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara has worn yellow while he’s done work for his teammate Andy Schleck. But a world road champion has never worn yellow and led out a sprint for a win — at least not in modern memory.

“We had a plan for Tyler, and Thor was part of that plan. The fact that he’s world champion and leading the Tour doesn’t stand in the way,” said teammate and fellow leadout man Julian Dean. “That’s the mark of a true champion.”

For his part, Hushovd was quick to acknowledge his teammates for their assistance in keeping him out of trouble and in yellow.

“The team pulled all day and did a great job to keep me out of trouble,” said Hushovd, who opened up his full sprint at about 200 meters to go. “It’s extraordinary to win the stage today. We won the team time trial yesterday and I have the yellow jersey, so to win today again is just incredible.”

Since turning pro in 2000 for Crédit Agricole, Hushovd has won eight Tour stages and two green jerseys.