Thor Hushovd had gone into Paris-Roubaix with the intention of winning the race, but instead saw Garmin-Cervelo teammate and outsider Johan Van Summeren take the honours. But far from being disappointed, the world champion called it a great day and that he was overjoyed.
"It's a great day for us. We have worked hard and we deserved this,” he told ProCycling.no. “We have a strong team, but we've had a lot of bad luck so far this season. Today, we showed that we are one of the world's best cycling teams. We controlled the race and played the cards perfectly.”
Van Summeren got into a breakaway, with Hushovd in the following chase group. When favourite Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) took off in a vain effort to catch the leaders, Hushovd went with him, not to chase his own teammate but to prevent Cancellara from doing so.
That meant that Hushovd didn't do any of the lead work, much to the Swiss rider's dismay. “I couldn't do that, when my own teammate is in front,” he said.
The Norwegian had praise for Peter Van Petegem, who has temporarily joined the US-based team as a consultant for the cobble classics. “Today, Peter Van Petegem did a good job. It was he who gave the message that Van Summeren should attack, and it worked 100 percent. We got paid for our teamwork, and I was also a strong part of it. When we end up winning the race, it is fantastic for us.”
Hushovd, 33, was not disappointed to have finished eighth instead of first. “I feel joy. I have worked for months to win this race, but there was nothing I could do. I started the race to win, but cycling is a team sport. Therefore, I am happy so long as we have the victory."