Virus continues to hamper former world champion
It was in July last year when Thor Hushovd (BMC) was riding a high. He won the opening team time trial with his (2011) Garmin-Cervélo squad and won an additional two stages at the Tour de France. The team’s TTT win put Hushovd in the maillot jaune – something he’d continue to wear for the entire first week. The season wound down with the Tour of Britain, where he won a stage, before going onto the world championships where he supported his compatriot Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) to an eight-place finish.
He didn’t race after the world championships but he was kept busy in the off-season with the move to BMC. It looked like his team for 2012 would be the next classics ‘Super Squad’ but he failed to match his performances of 2011. Hushovd has struggled for most of 2012 with a virus and missed many days of racing. Results have been absent but he has been building slowly his form since the announcement he was healthy again . His abandonment at the Tour of Poland during the fifth stage was the final sign that he was in fact not ready to return to competition and would not be riding in the Olympic Games.
"The Olympics has been a major goal of the season and with a course that would fit me very well. My focus is that Norway will provide the best possible team during the road race in London, and when the body is not functioning optimally, unfortunately, I have to withdraw. I wish the guys good luck in the Olympics," he said on the Norwegian Cycling Federation site.
Hushovd’s position will be filled with the first reserve rider, Vegard Stake Laeng who debuted with Team Type 1-Sanofi this season. It is the 23-year-old’s first year riding with a Professional Continental team.
"With Vegard we still have a powerful Olympic team that will compete for medals in London," said Norwegian Sports Director Steffen Kjærgaard.
Laeng will join the three other members already announced for the Olympics: Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), Lars Petter Nordhaug (Sky) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha).
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