Thor Hushovd used a perfect leadout from his Cervelo Test Team to propel himself to victory in yesterday's stage of the Tour of California. Hushovd's win did not affect the overall standings of the race and Levi Leipheimer remains in the lead with his teamate, Lance Armstrong back in fourth.
Leipheimer did not have a quiet day in the peloton though because an early crash, which he put down to momentary inattention, saw a hurried swap of bikes with one of his domestiques and the Astana riders then working to pull their race-leader back into the safety of the main bunch.
The stage had been billed as one for the sprinters but early on it looked like it might follow what seemed to be the devloping pattern for the race: wind, rain and and early escape caught late on with varying degrees of success. Today's break went very early – just over 7KM out from the start Brad White (OUCH-Maxxis) jumped away befor the first climb and was eventually joined by Bauke Mollema (Rabobank), Brian Vandborg (Liquigas), Jeff Louder (BMC Racing). At one point the quartet had five and a half minutes on the chasing pack, but the sprinter's teams were not going to be denied again and determinedly chased the escapers down to set up a final sprint.
Mark Cavendish's Columbia High Road team were conspicuous in those efforts, but the British sprinter got separated from his lead out man in the final kilmometre and could only manage fifth place. Hushovd's team by comparison provided a textbook example of how to do it providing him with a three man train which got him into position perfectly – his lead out man, Brett Lancaster came in sixth just behind Cavendish.
Top 10 ToC Stage 3
1 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervélo TestTeam 4.28.12 (37.3601 km/h)
2 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
3 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream
5 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - Highroad
6 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervélo TestTeam
7 Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Colavita / Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light
8 Freddy Rodriguez (USA) Rock Racing
9 Markus Zberg (Swi) BMC Racing Team
10 Pedro Horrillo (Spa) Rabobank
Top 10 ToC General Classification after Stage 3
1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 13.51.14
2 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad 0.24
3 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Slipstream 0.28
4 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0.30
5 Christopher Horner (USA) Astana 0.34
6 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana 0.38
7 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
8 José Luis Rubiera (Spa) Astana
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas
10 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 0.39
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.