Hushovd confident in Modesto reprise

Thor Hushovd won stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California in Modesto, California. That was in 2009.

2011 Amgen Tour of California stage 2 gallery by Brad Kaminski
World Champion Thor Hushovd before the start. Photo Brad Kaminski

MODESTO, California (VN) – Thor Hushovd won stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California in Modesto, California. That was in 2009.

Garmin-Cervélo’s road world champion said Tuesday morning that the run-in to the finish for today’s stage to Modesto suits him better than the circuit riders faced in Sacramento a day earlier.

“I think it’s a better chance for me,” said Hushovd. “I think I needed a day yesterday to find back the race speed in the legs. I think this sprint suits me better and I’ve won on this same lap here a couple years ago.”

In that 2009 sprint, Hushovd took a contentious win ahead of Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Mark Renshaw (HTC-Highroad). Renshaw’s teammate Mark Cavendish came through fourth after Fred Rodriguez and he tussled in the final leadout. Cavendish won a stage at the Giro d’Italia earlier today, but Freire was in the peloton as it barreled toward Modesto.

Hushovd gave his rainbow world champion’s stripes a break after Paris-Roubaix, where he finished eighth behind teammate and winner Johan Van Summeren. After Sunday’s stage cancellation, Hushovd said his legs were just getting up to speed in Sacramento.

“I think the final circuit today suits me better today than yesterday,” he said. “Also, the race in my legs after yesterday may be what I need to be better today than at the end of the stage yesterday.”

The Norwegian former green jersey winner at the Tour de France opened an early sprint in Sacramento and faded 200 meters from the line. He came across the line seventh, between Alejandro Borrajo (Jamis-Sutter Home) and Taylor Phinney (BMC). In his usual placid manner, Hushovd said he was satisfied to have the Amgen Tour on the road and with a dangerous finale, was happy to come through inside the top 10.

“It was a bit dangerous and nervous when we got the rain at the finish circuit,” said Hushovd. “I was up there, but didn’t take any risks and I was happy with my sprint.”