Hushovd climbs to Stage 13 win
LOURDES, France - Norway’s Thor Hushovd won the 13th stage of the Tour de France and France’s Thomas Voeckler kept the yellow jersey yesterday on a ride through the Pyrenees that ended in the home of one of the most famous Catholic shrines.
Jeremy Roy nearly captured a Tour stage for the first time with his attack at the foot of the huge climb to Col d’Aubisque. But the Frenchman couldn’t hold off Hushovd or David Moncoutie, who overtook Roy near the line and finished second.
“I really didn’t think I would win this stage,’’ said Hushovd, who was also part of the
Voeckler was part of the main pack that lagged nearly nine minutes behind Hushovd. He held the overall lead for another day heading into a mammoth climbing stage. Defending champion Alberto Contador of Spain and two-time runners-up Andy Schleck and Cadel Evans did not chase as they conserved energy for today.
“I was pretty tired from yesterday and tomorrow’s a big day,’’ Evans said. “There’ll be fireworks, don’t worry.’’
None of the main rivals took any time off each other, and there was no repeat of Thursday’s attacks in which a weary Contador lost 13 seconds to Schleck and Evans.
Frank Schleck is second overall - 17 seconds ahead of Evans, 28 seconds ahead of younger brother Andy, and 2 minutes and 11 seconds clear of Contador. Contador has been nursing a sore right knee after hitting it twice in separate crashes.
“I don’t feel any pressure,’’ Frank Schleck said. “I’m convinced that I’m not going to have any regrets tomorrow.’’
Hushovd, a two-time winner of the Tour’s green jersey for best sprinter, won the 95-mile stage in 3 hours, 47 minutes, 36 seconds. He is more used to dashing to the finish line than grinding uphill, but he has worked hard on his climbing ability to become a more complete rider.
“It’s the best stage I’ve ever won on the Tour de France,’’ said Hushovd, who has nine individual stage victories and two more from team time trials. “To win on my own is even more special. It’s very emotional for me.’’
Hushovd caught Moncoutie with about 15 miles remaining, and they took turns trying to close the gap on Roy, who led by 70 seconds with 12 miles to go. That was cut to 18 with 6 miles left, and Hushovd caught him with a mile left.
Roy’s previous best on the Tour had been a second-place stage finish in 2008.