Hushovd wins, Contador closes in
World champion Thor Hushovd of Norway led a three-man breakaway to win a rainy 16th stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday, as overall race leader Thomas Voeckler lost crucial seconds against two top race favorites.other Updated: Jul 19, 2011 23:04 IST
World champion Thor Hushovd of Norway led a three-man breakaway to win a rainy 16th stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday, as overall race leader Thomas Voeckler lost crucial seconds against two top race favorites.
Three-time champion Alberto Contador attacked in the final climb of Tuesday's 162.5-kilometer (101-mile) route from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Gap and reduced his deficit in the title quest.
Hushovd won his second stage this Tour by outpacing fellow Norwegian Edvald Boassen Hagen in second and Hushovd's Garmin-Cervelo teammate Ryder Hesjedal in third.
Hushovd, a 32-year-old veteran long known as a star sprinter, showed off his new talents when he won Stage 13 over a big climb. This time, he displayed a puncher's ability to break away on a more rolling course.
The Norwegian has been one of the stars of this race. He also held the yellow jersey for six days early in the race, after the Garmin-Cervelo team won the team time trial in Stage 2.
Contador and two-time Tour runner-up Cadel Evans gained time on Voeckler, who retained the yellow jersey, while two-time runner-up Andy Schleck of Luxembourg was among the day's big losers crossing the finish back of the other favorites.
Ten breakaway riders pressed the pace through most of the stage, though by the finish that group had thinned.
As the pack prepared to scale the mid-grade Col de Manse climb, with about 15 kilometers left in the stage, Contador sped out of the front of the pack in a string of attacks to gain about 20 seconds on most favorites.
Only Evans, a two-time Tour runner-up, kept up. While the 9.5-kilometer climb was not well-suited for Contador to gain time on his rivals it wasn't so steep that they couldn't keep up â€" the signal from the three-time champion was clear: Don't forget about me.