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Hushovd: Zabel is the biggest threat

By Shane Stokes in León

Following today's win plus three seconds places amassed earlier this week, Thor Hushovd is a comfortable 33 points clear of Erik Zabel in the best sprinter classification. He nominated the German as his biggest rival for that competition.

"I think Zabel is the main rival for the points jersey, and Ventoso as well," he told Cyclingnews on Thursday evening. "Robbie [McEwen] wasn't planning to finish this race, so his pulling out doesn't change anything as regards the points jersey. He wasn't really in good form, so I wasn't afraid anyway."

Hushovd is hoping for a strong ride at the world championships. At today's post-race press conference, he was asked his opinion on the fact that they are only allowed a very small squad. Surprisingly, he didn't object.

"It is normal that a small country like Norway gets three spots, instead of the big countries like Spain, France, Italy or wherever. If we had to field nine riders we would have to find amateurs in Norway! So with three spots it is okay. What we have to do is to try to profit from the work of the other countries in the worlds, do it that way."

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