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Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) finishes just ahead of Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky)
Cervélo captain concedes Cancellara the strongest
After a Classics campaign hampered by illness, Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) was pleased with his runner-up spot in Paris-Roubaix on Sunday. It capped a good day for Cervélo, which has struggled to emulate its success in the Classics 12 months ago.
Today there was a turnaround, however, with three riders in the top 15 - Hushovd in second, Roger Hammond in fourth and Jeremy Hunt in 15th. The team was missing both Heinrich Haussler and Andreas Klier through injury.
"Today I’m really happy because I had no chance against Cancellara after he attacked with 50 kilometres to go. I think all the group understood it wasn’t possible to get him back. That’s why I’m happy," Hushovd told Cyclingnews after he stepped down from the podium in Roubaix.
Fabian Cancellara made his race winning attack near the Mons-en-Pévèle sector and despite having two teammates near him, Hushovd and his chase companions conceded defeat almost immediately. Leading into the final 20km the Norwegian counter attacked with Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) and beat the Spaniard in a two-man sprint to round out the podium.
"It was just a race for second place," Hushovd admitted. "The whole team did a really good job with Jeremy Hunt in front and Hammond up front too. Really good work today. I was really, really tired so I wanted to save as much as possible so I could win the sprint. It was a nice podium."
Hushovd’s second place came after a less-than-stellar start to the season for the Norwegian and his Cervélo team as a whole. Teammates Heinrich Haussler and Andreas Klier were ruled out of the cobbled races with injury, while Hushovd himself has missed valuable racing and training in the last few weeks due to illness. At the start of E3 Prijs-Harelbeke he was vomiting and had to pull out.
The team has still placed in several races, however. Dominique Rollin was fifth in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuure and Roger Hammond was seventh at the Tour of Flanders last week.
"Today was a relief. I’ve been fighting hard this year and nothing has worked but it was the final race and it was a big goal. I’ve found form. One year I can win," said Hushovd.