If you listened closely enough, the faint sound of Viking horns to announce the entrance of the God of Thunder, Thor Hushovd (Team Garmin-Cervelo), in Lourdes could be heard in the distance.
The current World Champion threw caution to the wind today on the 152 kilometer Stage 13, which featured an ascent/descent of the Col d’Aubisque, by first getting involved in the winning break and then attacking his front running compatriots on the day’s most difficult slopes.
Jérémy Roy (FDJ) and eventually David Moncoutie (Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne) were able to stay in contact with Hushovd on the ascent of the Aubisque, even surpassing the former maillot jaune wearer. But too much time and distance, not to mention one big Norwegian, would be Roy’s and Moncoutie’s undoing.
With 3 kilometers to go, with Roy seemingly in clear and the pair of Moncoutie and Hushovd giving chase, the God of Thunder wielded his hammer-like legs and pounded both Moncoutie and then Roy in to utter submission.
A solo and celebratory Hushovd would cross the line 10 seconds ahead of Moncoutie and 26 seconds in front of a fading Roy.
Results - Stage 13
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo
2. David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
3. Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ
An always game Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar) safely finished with the lead group to retain the lead in the yellow jersey competition.
General Classification After Stage 13
1. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar
2. Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
3. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
4. Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
5. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
6. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD
7. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard
8. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
9. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
10. Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo
Jersey Leaders After Stage 13
maillot jaune - Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar
maillot vert - Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad
maillot a pois rouges - Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ
maillot blanc - Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ
Quick Stepping Through The Tour - Pineau Fifth
The Quick-Step Cycling Team put down a great ride during the 13th stage of the Tour de France. Though the day started with bad news as Gert Steegmans was forced to leave the Tour with a fracture to the scaphoid in his left hand, a consequence of a fall that happened during the 5th stage. With a relative flat parcours to the foot of the only climb of the day a lot of riders tried their luck in the start of the race. French champion Sylvain Chavanel tried several times, just as Dries Devenyns and Niki Terpstra. The peloton didn`t let the escapees go and with an average of almost 50 km/h, the riders went through the first hour. Eventually a group of 10 riders including Jerome Pineau managed to get away. In the peloton the tempo dropped and the escapees opened a gap of 4 minutes quickly. “The first hour of the race flew by at an average of almost 50 km/h. We Quick-Step guys were present in all the breaks. Chavanel tried a thousand times, like the rest of the guys on the team. It would have been a shame if none of us were there in the most important break”, said Pineau.
With an advantage of 9 minutes the escapees went to the Col d`Aubisque. The breakaway split up after an attack of world champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo). He had Jeremy Roy (Française des Jeux) and Moncoutie (Cofidis) with him, while Pineau was just behind them in a chase group. Some time later Roy went on solo on the slopes of the Aubisque, with Hushovd and Moncoutie more than a minute behind him. Pineau was some further back at moment. “It was impossible for me to react. If I had, I surely would have paid for it in the long run. I recuperated and then I hit my own rhythm. I climbed at a good pace. On the downhill I collaborated well with Boasson Hagen and Bak. We couldn't have done more than what we did, even because there was a headwind towards the arrival”, continued Pineau over the stage.
The stage win went to world champion Hushovd, who bridged the gap with Roy in the final kilometres and then went on alone. Five minutes after the Norwegian rider Pineau battled for the fourth place. He was well placed in the wheel of Boasson Hagen, sprinted past the Sky-rider but was beaten at the line by Bak. “It's not a bad fifth place and I hope it serves as a starting point to attempt something good these next few days." The rest of the guys on the Quick-Step Cycling Team also had a good day. Chavanel was present in almost all the breaks in the beginning of the race, but with no luck. It was a good day for Kevin de Weert as he anticipates tomorrow's stage in the Pyrenees, which promises to be spectacular.
Next: Stage 14 - Saint-Gaudens to Plateau de Beille (168km)
Photos: (top: Leonard Basobas/LB Photos; bottom: © Tim de Waele - TDWSport.com)