Norway’s Thor Hushovd won the road world championship in Australia on Sunday, charging clear of a bunch sprint to edge out Denmark’s Matti Breschel. Australia’s Allan Davis took bronze in what was one of the most exciting World Champs in years.
It was a course for the tough sprinter, for a man made of iron who could get over the climbs and launch a brutal uphill sprint: enter Thor Hushovd (Norway). The final sprint in Geelong, Australia was perfectly suited to the Norwegian rider and with a clear run down the left-hand barrier, Hushovd secured a year in the rainbow jersey of UCI Road World Champion.
The race was dominated by a five- rider breakaway. They attacked in the first few kilometres and took advantage of the lethargy of the chasing bunch to accumulate a 23-minute advantage.
After the first four of the 11 laps, for a total distance of 257 km, the main teams organised their reaction, and the Italian and Spanish squads drove the pace to gradually reduce the gap. Coming into the last lap, all the favourites were togther. There was however a huge attack by Philippe Gilbert that many thought was the decisive move of the day but the race still had a lot more to offer.
After they caught the Belgian rider, the chasing group split up several times, however none of these moves succeeded.
Finally the title was decided was decided in a bunch sprint. With all the power we could expect of him, Thor Hushovd crossed the line in front of Matti Breschel (DEN) and Allan Davis (AUS).
It is the first time ever that a Norwegian rider wins a UCI World Road Championship, and Hushovd’s success is a fair reward for such a consistent athlete.
1 Thor Hushovd (Norway) 6:21:49
2 Matti Breschel (Denmark)
3 Allan Davis (Australia)
4 Filippo Pozzato (Italy)
5 Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium)
6 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spain)
7 Alexandr Kolobnev (Russian Federation)
8 Assan Bazayev (Kazakhstan)
9 Yukiya Arashiro (Japan)
10 Romain Feillu (France)
11 Grega Bole (Slovenia)
12 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kazakhstan)
13 Koos Moerenhout (Netherlands)
14 Fabian Wegmann (Germany)
15 Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Portugal)
16 Frank Schleck (Luxembourg)
17 Cadel Evans (Australia)
18 Philippe Gilbert (Belgium)
19 Niki Terpstra (Netherlands) 0:00:07