By Jean-François Quénet in Fiorano Modenese
At the start of stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia in Barberino di Mugello, Thor Hushovd learned that the only other stage finish in Fiorano Modenese in the history of the Giro saw a win by his compatriot Knut Knudsen in the opening stage starting in Milan thirty two years ago (in 1975). "This is something I'll put in my mind today," he said. "My motivation will be to keep Norway unbeaten."
A Norwegian won, but instead of Hushovd, Kurt-Asle Arvesen took the honour for his country, as he did four years ago in Faenza when he wore the jersey of National Champion. His win pleased Hushovd who finished in the bunch.
"It's very good that Kurt won today," Hushovd said on the finishing line. "I know he has worked really hard, he deserves something like this. As for myself, winning today was out of (the) question. I suffered all day in the bunch. It was one of these extremely bad days that we experience sometimes. It was no fun at all but fortunately Norway remains unbeaten here. I hope I'll be all right tomorrow because there are more chances of a bunch sprint."
Knudsen, who used to race under the legendary colours of Bianchi and has since become a commentator at the races in Norway, was also present in Fiorano Modenese. He does commentary for NRK, the Norwegian public TV channel that covers the Giro.