Norwegian world champ craves Classics crown
After becoming road world champion on Sunday in Geelong, Australia, Thor Hushovd says a Paris-Roubaix crown is next on his list of career goals.
The Norwegian has coveted the Roubaix title for many years now and was clear in his response to questions regarding what's left to achieve in his decorated career.
"There are so many things left because it's cycling and there are so many races, but I think my main goal for now is Paris-Roubaix. It's been my goal for many years and a big dream for me to win.
"To win a big Classic with this jersey would be nice."
Asked if the rainbow stripes are more important than his green jersey for the points classification at the Tour de France, Hushovd swiftly replied: "This is bigger - it's the world championships. Absolutely for me this jersey is the biggest one, together with Paris-Roubaix," he said.
And it's Hushovd's pedigree as a Classics rider - as it is for fellow podium placers Matti Breschel and Allan Davis - that got the Norwegian through the tough 260km parcours, which was the subject of much speculation throughout the last six months, while the likes of pure sprinters such as Mark Cavendish failed to get close to the win.
"During the season I heard it was a sprinter's race and then when we got closer to the race we heard that it was harder and when I saw the course I kind of got surprised how hard it was. So then it was for the climbers," he explained.
"Then we saw how the under 23 guys rode it and we thought, 'Ah, maybe it's a sprinters' course anyway'. It was a really tough one today - all of us are good sprinters but we are not pure sprinters - so I think that we had to hang in there and believe that we could make it.
"I think Mark Cavendish is just a pure sprinter; when you see the races he's the fastest sprinter in the world when it's flat and not too hard. If you look at my last victories there's often a climb at the end or a hard sprint like today."
Hushovd came into the world championships with one of the smallest squads in the field, and like Matti Breschel and the Danish team, the Norwegian and his teammates reacted well to the absence of race radios, although he added that there remain safety concerns.
"I don't think it changed too much because we know what to do; the problem is that it's hard to know what the time [gaps] are all the time," he said.
"I just think it's better to have radios because we don't have to get the cars to come up - it didn't happen today but in stage races, if they want to talk to the riders they have to go up to the bunch like they did before and I think it's just more dangerous for the riders."
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