Thor Hushovd of Team Garmin-Cervelo won yesterday’s Stage 13 of the Tour de France, pulling away from a small group over the closing stretch of a 152.5-kilometer (95 mile) mountain route from Pau to Lourdes.
Thomas Voeckler of France kept the overall race lead with eight stages remaining after finishing 17th in the peloton. Today’s route covers 168.5 kilometers through the Pyrennees from Saint-Gaudens to Plateau de Beille.
Hushovd, cycling’s reigning world champion from Norway, caught and then distanced himself from Jeremy Roy of France’s Team FDJ 2.3 kilometers from the finish. Hushovd had pulled away from David Moncoutie of Team Cofidis with less than three kilometers remaining. It was Hushovd’s eighth stage win in the Tour de France, cycling’s most prestigious race.
Hushovd first broke away from a group of about 10 riders at the front of the race on the climb up the 1,709-meter-high Col d’Aubisque to open a gap on Roy and Moncoutie, who are both known as better climbers than the 33-year-old Norwegian.
“The plan was to gain a small advantage,” Hushovd said in an interview on Comcast Corp.’s Versus network. “I knew if Moncoutie wanted to attack, I knew I couldn’t follow.”
As the climb continued, Roy and Moncoutie eventually caught and rode away from Hushovd, who reached the summit 2 minutes, 3 seconds behind Roy. Hushovd then caught Moncoutie on the descent and the duo joined up to close the gap on Roy over the final 25 kilometers before Hushovd broke away.
“I said I’m going to give everything and if it worked it would be perfect,” Hushovd said. “If not, I tried. Today, my tactics worked out.”
Defending champion Alberto Contador of Spain finished in the peloton and sits seventh overall, 4 minutes behind Voeckler of Team Europcar and 2:11 in back of second-place rider Frank Schleck of Team Leopard-Trek. Cadel Evans of BMC Racing is third, 2:06 behind Voeckler.