LOURDES, France, (Reuters) – World champion Thor Hushovd claimed the 13th stage of the Tour de France after defeating two Frenchmen in a nail-biting finale yesterday.
The Norwegian rider from the Garmin-Cervelo team powered away with 2.5 kilometres left to beat France’s David Moncoutie by 10 seconds, according to provisional results.
Another Frenchman, Jeremy Roy, was on the attack all day but had to settle for third some 26 seconds off the pace, snatching the polka dot jersey for the best climber in the process.
Thomas Voeckler of France retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey as the big guns enjoyed a quiet day in the 152.5-km stage from Pau.
Roy, who had already spent almost 200 km in a breakaway in Thursday’s gruelling mountain trek, attacked in the descent from the Col de Cuqueron around 105 km from the finish.
He was joined by eight riders, including former race leader Hushovd, but he was on his own before the top of the out-of-category Col de l’Aubisque.
Cheered on by his team manager Marc Madiot, a two-times Paris-Roubaix champion, Roy launched a solo time trial with his face a mask of pain and his mouth wide open as he gasped for air.
Hushovd and Moncoutie joined forces in the descent before the Frenchman refused to take turns with eight km left.
Hushovd then attacked three km from the line and caught Roy 500 metres further on with the FDJ rider was unable to catch the Norwegian’s wheel, cracking in the finale.