COPENHAGEN (VN) — Defending road race world champion Thor Hushovd admits winning a second rainbow jersey will prove difficult.
Only five racers have successfully defended their title, but Hushovd knows that a relatively easy circuit and a deep field of sprinters will make it a tough challenge.
“I know it will be difficult to repeat,” Hushovd told the Belgian daily l’Avenir. “The Copenhagen circuit is not nearly as difficult as the Geelong course. I will have my chances if it comes down to a sprint.”
Hushovd will share leadership with Edvald Boasson Hagen for the four-man Norwegian team. He said it won’t be up to them to try to control the race.
“It’s a tough field: Sagan, Gilbert, Freire, Cavendish, with a strong Italian team with Bennati and the German’s with Greipel,” he said.”We’re only four against all that. We cannot expect to control the race. Nevertheless, we will try to attack at the appropriate moment.”
Hushovd has been training in the Belgian Ardennes this week to put the finishing touches on his form ahead of Sunday’s race.
Hushovd was left off Garmin-Cervélo’s Vuelta a España squad, but won a stage at the Tour of Britain to prove he’s on the right track.
Tens of thousands of Norwegian fans are already making the trek south to Denmark to watch the two superstars battle for gold on Sunday.
The five riders who have defended their rainbow jerseys: Georges Ronsse (Belgium): 1928-29 Rik Van Steenbergen (Belgium): 1956-57 Rik van Looy (Belgium): 1960-61 Gianni Bugno (Italy): 1991-92 Paolo Bettini (Italy): 2006-07