Hushovd had looked out of contention in the run-in to the line but found an opening, from which he made his move. “It was a large road and really fast, with the downhill,” he said at the finish.
“I think I just had a perfect run. I was a bit behind and I got a bit of a slipstream and in a couple of metres I was able to pass someone, then I dived in front of him.”
The win gives Hushovd a three-second lead in the general classification, ahead of Wauter Willems (Vacansoleil-DCM), who took bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints, and Luca Mezgec (Argos-Shimano).
While he’s hoping to keep the red jersey as long as he can, Hushovd doesn’t think he can hold it to the finish. “With a mountain top finish, it’s too difficult. I’m not going that well. You can see the climbers that are here so that’s not possible. We’ll take it day by day and tomorrow we’ll do everything to defend it. Matthias (Frank) and Dominic Nerz will be our guys I think.”
Recovering from Illness
Hushovd spent almost the entirety of the 2012 season out with a virus, which forced him to abandon of the Giro d’Italia. It took him months to get going again. However since winning the Norwegian National Championship in June, the former World Champion has gone on to take six more victories.
“After last year, it wasn’t easy to come back at a stable level,” said Hushovd. “I had a few good times in the spring, but I wasn’t there all the time, it was just up and down. Now things have started to go back to normal and I’ve had a few wins.
“I’m still a bit surprised that I was strong enough to win the stage today. I think you know when the form is there. With all the kilometres I’ve got in my legs I know I can still be there when I’m not 100 per cent.”
Stage two has four categorised climbs, but should be another chance for the sprinters. After that the peloton head out of the city and into the mountains, before returning to the city for the final stage.