Defending champion doomed by crash and no helpers
A crash with six laps left to go cost Thor Hushovd the chance to repeat his 2010 victory in the UCI World Championships road race. After the race, the Norwegian criticized his team's tactics, saying the two-captain strategy worked to his disadvantage.
The crash was big enough to block the road and hold up the riders behind it. Those caught up in or behind the crash went on to finish nearly nine minutes behind winner Mark Cavendish (Great Britain).
Hushovd and Edvald Boasson Hagen came into the race as co-captains for the Norwegian team, which had only four riders. Boasson Hagen was ahead of the crash, as were Kurt Asle Arvesen and Gabriel Rasch, who stayed with him rather than returning to help Hushovd.
“We should have only one captain for next year,” Hushovd told VG.no. “Things are clearer. It is easier for everyone to relate to it.”
He did not blame Arvesen and Rasch for not helping him. With no race radios allowed, they did not know that he had been held up. “They didn't know what happened, so I cannot criticize Gabriel or Kurt.”
It was Arvesen who had to make the decision not to help Hushovd, after Rasch pointed out that he was no longer there, about half a lap after the crash. “We considered what we should do. I talked with a commissioner and asked how far behind the group with Thor was. I was told they were several minutes behind us. I said to 'Gabba' that there was point in him going back. 'Gabba' alone could not have made a difference.”
That left things up to Boasson Hagen, who said he was feeling good during the race and was satisfied with his eighth place finish.
“It was a real struggle to keep ahead in the last few kilometers, so it was tough. I managed to sit on the wheels of Gilbert and Cancellara, but it was too tough,” he said.
“This is still the best World Championships I have raced. And I have many more World Championships in front of me,” the 24-year-old concluded.
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