By Gregor Brown in Meerkeke
Norway's Thor Hushovd came away from the 92nd Ronde van Vlaanderen disappointed despite out-performing most of the odd-makers. The 30 year-old multiple stage winner in the Tour de France responded well to the accelerations over the cobbled and difficult course, even if he is better known as a sprinter.
Crédit Agricole's leader was there with Sebastian Langeveld when the Dutchman accelerated on the Taaienberg with 62 kilometres remaining. He also showed himself in another attempt, this time with Janek Tombak (Mitsubishi-Jartazi) and Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), in following Stijn Devolder's winning move at 25 kilometres remaining. However, Hushovd expected more.
"No," responded Hushovd when asked if he was pleased with his day, which resulted in 27th. His best performance came in 2006, with 14th. "I just ran out of energy," he continued, exhausted, to Cyclingnews. "I did not have more in the legs, shit happens."
He did acknowledged the form that had him at the sharp-end of the race. "I was in good shape, but then all of my energy left and I didn't have any more left, it was just bad."
He is perhaps a little big too big of a rider for the 17 climbs that compromise Ronde van Vlaanderen, and his chances will surely come in Wednesdays's Gent-Wevelgem. Hushovd won the mid-week Classic in 2006 following a fifth-place performance the year before. Expect to see Hushovd's form on display once again in Wevelgem.