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Norway’s Thor Hushovd was left defeated, frustrated and without the Tour de France yellow jersey on Tuesday after two sections of cobbled road battered the peloton during stage three in northern France.
The Credít Agricole rider lost the overall lead to Australia’s Robbie McEwen after crashing just before the first section of cobbles, 64 kilometres from the end of the stage.
He finished the 210km stage three minutes and 53 seconds behind the leading riders and plummeted to 92nd overall.
“I got the yellow jersey yesterday but now I’ve lost it because of a stupid crash,” he said. “The cobblestones sections weren’t too bad, it was the fighting for position for the 50 kilometers before that did the damage. Someone crashed in front of me, and I went down next to him. We tried to chase, but everybody was tired, and so the gap just got bigger and bigger.”
Hushovd conceded that he probably wuld have lost the yellow jersey in Wednesday’s team time trial, “so it’s not that bad for me, but guys like (Iban) Mayo, (Denis) Menchov and (Christophe) Moreau have lost their chance of overall victory.”
Hushovd added: “I think it’s stupid to have cobbles in a stage of the Tour de France. Paris-Roubaix in April is one thing and is a special race full of muddy cobbles, but the Tour de France is not about riding over cobbles in the dirt.”
Hushovd said he would now concentrate on winning stages and trying to capture the green points jersey held by McEwen.
“I’ve lost a lot points in the green jersey and so now I will have to fight to get them back,” he said. “It won’t be easy because Robbie McEwen has a big lead, but I will have to come up with something.”