Thor Hushovd rode back in to the Tour de France’s green jersey today on stage 16, climbing the brutal Col du Tourmalet alongside Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck to steal six points on the finish line.

Cervelo rider Hushovd won the sprint for 10th place at the front of a select group of 49 riders, six minutes and 45 seconds behind the stage winner Pierrick Fedrigo. That group contained all the race favourites (apart from Cadel Evans who finished 23 minutes down and Ivan Basso who finished 34 minutes down), while the autobus finished 34 minutes and 48 seconds behind the winner.

Should Hushovd win green in Paris he will have done so in an ‘all-rounder’ style rather than doing so by being the fastest sprinter in the race. Hushovd won stage three to Arenberg from a small group but since then has failed to make much of an impact in the bunch sprints.

He has, however, ridden consistently at the front of the race, getting top tens in the sprints and putting himself in breaks to grab the intermediate points. Today he made his most audacious move yet by attacking the race leaders on the slopes of the Tourmalet, “we weren’t going very fast, so I thought I’d give it a go,” he said after the stage.

The Norwegian is now on 191 points in the green jersey competition, leading Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) by just four points. Mark Cavendish is in third spot, but 29 points behind Hushovd.

After the stage Hushovd stated that Petacchi was his main rival, and seemed to dismiss Cavendish’s challenge. “It was an important day. I knew it was a good chance to try to get some more points,” Hushovd said.

“The team did a great job helping me get over the climbs. With the break up the road, we knew there were some points waiting at the finish line. It’s important to take [points] whenever you have the opportunity. Petacchi is the most dangerous rival. I am feeling better as this Tour goes along.”

On paper Cavendish could still win green, but there are only two sprint stages left for him to overhaul Hushovd’s lead. If the Manxman were to win in both Bordeaux and Paris, he would pick up 70 points, meaning Hushovd would only have to score 42 points to hold him off. Plus there are two intermediate sprints on stage 18 to Bordeaux and another two on the final stage in to Paris.

Petacchi is a far greater threat, he only needs to twice finish in the top three with Hushovd behind him to win green. A win that may not go down too well now the Italian has been named by Gazzetta dello Sport as being involved in a new doping investigation.

Despite knowing he’s not the fastest man in the peloton, Hushovd hasn’t given up on winning another stage; “I think I have a good chance to win another stage. I would love to win on the Champs-Elysées. The green jersey always comes down to who is the strongest rider over three weeks.”

Tour de France 2010: Latest news

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Tour’s points leader Petacchi investigated for doping

Contador issues video apology to Schleck

Millar searches horizon for Eiffel Tower

Schleck-Contador friendship turns sour after chain problem

Wiggins at 2010 Tour: “I haven’t got it”

Basso wins Tour’s acceptance; podium spot next goal

Contador versus Schleck: A game of seconds

Can Cav win without Renshaw?

Hesjedal pushing his way to the Tour’s top

Renshaw disqualification overshadows Cavendish’s win

Charly Wegelius pulls out of Tour

Did Armstrong own a stake in Tailwind Sports, or not?

Cavendish in a ‘must win’ situation for Tour’s green jersey

Millar rides through pain barrier to make time cut

Roche alongside Tour’s top men ahead of Pyrenees

Wiggins to aim for Tour de France stage win?

Dan Lloyd battles on in Tour despite groin strain

Tour de France 2010: Stage reports

Stage 16: Fedrigo takes tough Pyrenean stage

Stage 15: Victorious Voeckler continues fine Franch Tour as Contador takes yellow jersey

Stage 14: Riblon hangs on in Pyrenees to give France fourth stage win

Stage 13: Vino returns to top of Tour after doping ban

Stage 12: Rodriguez wins as Contador attacks

Stage 11: Cavendish bags third stage win but lead out man kicked out of Tour

Stage 10: Cavendish bags third stage win but his lead-out man is kicked out of race

Stage 10: Paulinho claims narrow stage victory on Bastille day

Stage nine: Casar wins stage as Schleck and Contador go head-to-head

Stage seven: Chavanel wins stage and takes overall as Thomas drops out of Tour’s white

Stage six: Cavendish makes it two as Tour hots up

Stage five: Cavendish wins his first stage of Tour

Stage four: Petacchi wins into Reims

Stage three: Hushovd takes dramatic win; Thomas second on stage and GC

Stage three live coverage: As it happened

Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa

Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters

Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win

Tour de France 2010: Photos

Stage 15 photo gallery

Stage 14 photo gallery

Stage 13 photo gallery

Stage 12 photo gallery

Stage 11 photo gallery

Stage 10 photo gallery

Stage nine photo gallery

Stage eight photo gallery

Tour 2010 wallpaper

Stage seven photo gallery

Stage six photo gallery

Stage five photo gallery

Stage four photo gallery

Stage three photo gallery

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one gallery

Prologue photo gallery

Tour de France 2010: Videos

Stage 16 video highlights

Stage 15 video highlights

Stage 14 video highlights

Stage 13 video highlights

Stage 12 video highlights

Stage 11 video highlights

Stage 10 video highlights

Stage nine video highlights

Stage eight video highlights

Stage seven video highlights

Stage six video highlights

Stage five video highlights

Stage four video highlights

Stage three video highlights

Stage two video highlights

Stage one video highlights

Prologue video highlights

Tour de France 2010: Race guide

Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

Official start list, with race numbers

Brits at the Tour 2010

Tout team guide

Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins

Tour de France 2010: Pictures

Tour team presentation, Rotterdam

Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special