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Hushovd Sprints to Second

Cerv?lo TestTeam’s Thor Hushovd sprinted to second in Monday’s 196.5km third stage at the 2009 Tour de France as team captain Carlos Sastre lost 41 seconds to some important GC favorites when the peloton split in the closing kilometers.
Hushovd and Cerv?lo teammate Hayden Roulston snuck into an important, 28-rider breakaway that pulled clear in the closing 30km of the flat but very windy stage from Marseille to La Grande-Motte.

British rider Mark Cavendish out-kicked Hushovd to win for the second day in a row, with overnight leader Fabian Cancellara retaining the yellow jersey. By the time the dust settled, Sastre slipped back from 21st at 1:06 back to 26th at 1:48 off the pace.
"Today was a perfect opportunity for us. I was closer, but I will have to take a bigger chance if I want to beat Cavendish," Hushovd said. "I’ve started this Tour in good shape, but Mark is just faster right now. But I hope that I get the possibility to beat him in this Tour de France, because Cavendish is not unbeatable."
The stage seemed to be following script. A four-man breakaway was methodically being neutralized to set up what appeared to be another bunch sprint when all nine members of the Columbia-HTC team massed at the front and caused a split in the main pack.
Other big names riding into the move were race leader Cancellara, GC favorites Linus Gerdemann and Michael Rogers along with the presence of seven-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong.

Hushovd and Roulston were attentive to bridge across to the group to keep the team’s sprint options alive, but Sastre missed the move.
"I committed an error by staying back at the least opportune moment and my teammates stayed back with me to wait for me. It wasn’t a dangerous situation, because I was in the second group, but we could have easily all moved together at the front. I was thinking to myself that I just have to forget about it when I looked around and saw all the important GC riders back, except Armstrong," Sastre said. "I didn’t give too much importance to the situation and I finished the race surrounded by my teammates, turning my attention toward the team time trial, which is very important for the coming days."
Columbia kept a high pace to prevent the chasing riders from regaining contact and the leaders crossed the line with a 41-second advantage to the front group.
"Everybody knew the wind was going to play a factor today," said Hayden Roulston. "Columbia moved to the front and as soon as they turned a right corner they turned on the gas. It was good that I was there with Thor. It was good that Thor was second, but we have to say that Cavendish was just faster. You have to be smart to beat him."
The 96th Tour continues Tuesday with the exciting and dynamic team time trial event in stage 4 in Montpellier.
The unique discipline features entire nine-man teams squaring off in a demanding race against the clock. The time is taken at the fifth rider, meaning that teams will try to keep at least than many of their cyclists together until the finish line. Time differences for the lagging riders count only individually.

"We know what we have to do and we expect to have a good performance in the team time trial. It’s a stressful day for all the riders, but we only have to have five together at the finish line. So long as Carlos is one of those five, that’s all that matters. We’ve already decided Carlos is the only one we will wait for," said Cerv?lo sport director Jean-Paul Van Poppel. "We have the defending champion. We know he is in good condition and we are ready to protect him. I think we can make a big surprise in the team time trial."
The 39km course starts and finishes in Montpellier and presents a demanding challenge for the riders, with an endless series dips, corners, short climbs and technical descents.
Cerv?lo is keen to finish among the top-tier of teams to keep Sastre within close range of his GC rivals heading toward the first mountain stages in the Pyr?n?es this weekend.
Despite the hiccup in Monday’s stage, Sastre expects a strong performance.
"We’re going to confront the stage with a team that’s fairly strong and experienced. It’s been three Tours since we’ve raced a team time trial, but we will have riders experienced in the discipline and I expect us to be close to the favorites," Sastre said. "I believe the differences between the top GC contenders will be fairly small because we all have strong teams and good equipment. We’re basically on the same level."

Christopher Jones
Christopher Joneshttps://www.bicycles.net.au
Christopher Jones is a recreational cyclist and runs a design agency, Signale. As the driving force behind Bicycles.net.au he has one of each 'types' of bicycles.
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