Norwegian rider Thor Hushovd is aiming at victory when he practically races on home turf today on the Tour de France’s 196.5 kilometre stage from Cap d'Agde to Perpignan. The tall Cervélo Test Team rider lived in the region when he was still with Crédit Agricole, and moved to Monaco three years ago.
For this reason - but not only - Hushovd would love to win the fifth stage, which will likely finish in a sprint. "I know the region well, as I've lived six years just outside of Perpignan, in Le Boulou," Hushovd said. "I would really like to win the stage."
The Norwegian predicted more wind for Wednesday, as what's known as the ‘Tramontane’ has been blowing in the region for the last two days. "The main difficulty tomorrow is the wind," Hushovd said. "It's almost all flat, there are only two small climbs beside Narbonne. But there will be lots of wind, which will make the stage very nervous and really fast. As a team, we'll have to stay in front."
A surprising side wind and the team effort of Columbia-HTC split the bunch in two parts on Monday as it made its way to the coastal town of La Grande Motte. More echelons could occur tomorrow according to the Cervélo sprinter.
"I think we will arrive in Perpignan for a sprint, but it's not certain that the bunch will be together," he said.
Hushovd's main objective in the Tour is to repeat his 2005 overall victory of the green jersey competition, and add another stage win to his palmarès. Against Mark Cavendish, he admitted this was going to be difficult, but not impossible. He is very strong, but not unbeatable. Petacchi proved it at the Giro."
Cervélo team manager Thomas Campana also expects Hushovd will bring the squad glory as the Tour continues. Despite Cavendish’s speed, Campana expects Hushovd will deliver.
"I expect a stage victory from Thor. He's getting better and better and his condition is only coming up," Campana said. "This Tour is just starting. We are only at stage four. We have to be patient and take the race day by day, but when the door is open, we will go through."