Gérard Vroomen has praised Thor Hushovd on his winning ride in the Worlds and believes that the Norwegian will be an excellent ambassador for the sport over the coming twelve months.
Hushovd pulled on the rainbow jersey after a thrilling finale to Sunday’s race. After seeing multiple attacks from the Belgians, Russians and Italians fail, Hushovd powered to the win with a trademark sprint on the uphill drag to the line.
“It was quite amazing,” Vroomen, co-founder of Cervelo and the same-named team, told Cyclingnews.
“The course obviously wasn’t as easy as some sprinters thought so that left it to Thor to pace himself perfectly and get to the line within shooting distance. There wasn’t that much TV camera work in the group behind but I guess he was one of those pushing the pace to get back on the descent. Winning the sprint was awesome. It’s exactly what he set out to do as far back as the January training camp.”
One of Hushovd’s first actions upon crossing the line was to pick up his Cervelo bike and kiss it – a marketing dream for Vroomen who will surely use the image to push his brand next year. However, the cold side of sales and marketing aside, Vroomen clearly has a soft spot for Hushovd, who has ridden Cervelo for the last two seasons.
“What he did at the finish, that was pretty funny. In the last two years he’s become a bit of a different rider. He’s worked so hard and we’ve helped to give him that opportunity so I think that he’s one of those riders that really appreciates what people do for him and never complains or finds excuses. I think that was his way of expressing that.”
Hushovd is already one of the most popular riders amongst his peers and cycling fans and Vroomen believes that he will wear the stripes as world champion with the same dignity that epitomised Cadel Evans this year. Like Evans, the Norwegian is a rider who competes almost all-year round.
“I think he’ll be a really good ambassador for the sport. First of all the sport will never have any problems with him. That’s a good start if you look at the last week of crap we’ve had. Second, of all he’s a guy that rides from February to October so the jersey will be shown a lot, just like I think Cadel Evans has done an amazing job this year of representing the jersey, Thor will do the same. Even yesterday, I think Cadel did a great ride so hats off to him too.”
Next year Hushovd will swap his Cervelo TestTeam surroundings for those on offer at Jonathan Vaughters’ Garmin-Cervelo’s team. The partnership between Garmin and Cervélo will see the Norwegian competing on a Cervelo bike.
“We like to share,” joked Vroomen.
“The Worlds was one of the things we’ve not won before, perhaps one of the only things in the sport, so it’s great to win it and have Thor in the jersey. I’ve not really thought about what the jersey will look like next year but it’s great to see a world champion riding a Cervelo bike.”
With Garmin set to show of their first world elite road champion, Vaughters Tweeted, “Rainbow/Argyle.... Oh man.... The imagination runs wild.”
However the test between Vroomen and Vaughters’s partnership could be tested even at this early stage, with Vroomen telling Cyclingnews he would need a preview of the jersey.
“I don’t think it would be wise to let Vaughters have complete control of the jersey,” he joked. “
We’ll have a look before and get a sneak preview, for sure.