Tour De France: Hushovd Aggressive in Green

© Tim de Waele

22-Jul-2009: Cervélo TestTeam was on the sharp end of the action in Wednesday’s thrilling, five-climb march across the French Alps in the 169.5km 17th stage.

Thor Hushovd attacked early to all but secure the green points jersey and Carlos Sastre put down a lethal attack on the day’s penultimate climb to blow up the front group.  Sastre later faded and dropped to 13th overall, now 11:39 back on GC with four days to ride until the Tour ends in Paris on Sunday.

Frank Schleck won the stage, with Sastre crossing the line as the best-placed Cervélo rider in 25th at 7:47 back. “I knew it was the only opportunity I had to bust up the race and turn it to my favor. It wasn’t meant to be and the others were stronger than me,” Sastre said. “It’s a Tour completely different from what I expected. Considering how things are, I have to congratulate Alberto (Contador) for what he’s doing.”

Now no one can accuse Hushovd of backing into the green jersey.

The big Norwegian bravely attacked alone over two first-category climbs and won two intermediate sprints midway through the course to gain 12 additional points and all but wrap up the green points jersey. He now leads Mark Cavendish with 230-200.

Hushovd just needs to get to Paris and he’ll win his second career green jersey.

“Today everything just felt perfect. I attacked over the first climb, did a good descent and then had an amazing day in the front,” Hushovd said. “I think this is the best day I’ve ever had on the bike. Maybe I was making a statement, but at least I’ve got more points in case something happens in the coming days. If I win the jersey by 10 points, I can say that I had built a sufficient buffer on this stage to Le Grand Bornand.”

Cervélo saw its first abandon of the 21-stage Tour as Jose Angel Gómez Marchante pulled out during the stage. He crashed while hunting for a stage victory in Tuesday’s stage and was unable to continue to match the grueling pace of the Tour.

Eight Cervélo riders remain in the Tour.

The 96th Tour continues Thursday with the decisive 40.5km individual time trial around Lake Annecy.

For complete TestTeam results and more pictures, click here.

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