Norwegian sprinter Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) has aired his frustration at the Tour de France commissaire’s decision to neutralise Monday’s points allocations after crashes affected the stage, thwarting his chances of taking the green jersey.
Tour commissaires decided to award points only to stage winner Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), but no further points awarded any other riders after several crashes hampered the progress of many of the overall contenders – and sprinters.
“I feel frustrated by what happened today. Our team was working hard and we would have had a good chance for victory,” said Hushovd after the stage.
“I feel like they have taken something away from us today. There were a few sprinters who did not make it to the front group, but there was no reason to not contest the sprint today.
“Everyone made a gentleman’s agreement not to sprint, but I lost an important opportunity to try to win the stage and gain points.”
After solo escapee Chavanel crossed the line, netting himself 25 points, the main bunch rolled into the finish town of Spa in a line. Race leader Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) led the rolling protest, asking other riders not to sprint for the line.
Cancellara subsequently lost the race lead to Chavanel, who also took over the lead in the points classification from stage one winner Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre).
Hushovd, who won the points classification last year, was one of the few sprinters to make the front group. Green jersey rivals Petacchi, Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia), Gerald Ciolek (Milram) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) were not in the main bunch with Hushovd. They had either been dropped on one of the climbs or caught in a crash.
Earlier in the stage, Jurgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto) had put in a bid for the green jersey by accruing 18 points by winning the three intermediate sprints – all of which were allowed to stand.
British sprint hope Cavendish has yet to score a point in the competition.
You win some, you lose some
Although Thor Hushovd felt cheated out of points on Monday, he may recall a commissaire’s decision that was firmly in his favour in last year’s Tour.
On stage 14 to Besançon, Hushovd was leading the points classification by just five points over Mark Cavendish. A breakaway group had already crossed the line and the sprinters were scrapping for 13th place. The Manxman swerved to avoid an uneven section of the barriers and deviated into the path of Hushovd.
Cavendish crossed the line first, but was subsequently relegated to 154th place after the race commissaires decided his manoeuvre was dangerous. Hushovd got 13 points, and Cavendish none, giving the Norwegian an 18-point advantage in the competition.
A war of words between the two ensued, which culminated with Hushovd going on a remarkable solo effort on mountainous stage 17 where he picked up the two intermediate sprints. When the TV camera pulled up alongside him, he looked at the lens and tugged the green jersey in defiance.
Although Cavendish went on to win a further two stages, his bid for the green jersey effectively ended with the commissaire’s decision on stage 14. Hushovd went on to win the points competition by just 10 points over Cavendish, despite the Briton’s tally of six stage wins.
Points classification after stage two
1. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step 44 points
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini 35
3. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 34
4. Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Columbia 30
5. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo 26
6. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Katusha 24
7. Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Francaise des Jeux 22
8. Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 20
9. Jose Rojas (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 19
10. Sebastien Turgot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 19
Points classification before stage two
1. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini 35 points
2. Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Columbia 30
3. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo 26
4. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Katusha 24
5. Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Francaise des Jeux 22
6. Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 20
7. Jose Rojas (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 19
8. Christian Knees (Ger) Milram 18
9. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky 17
10. Ruben Perez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 17
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