It turned out to be a most disappointing day for Thor Hushovd. The Norwegian sprinter led the points classification in the Tour de France but failed to hold on to the green jersey during the eighteenth stage from Salies-de-Béarn to Bordeaux in the south-west region of France. Hushovd finished in a poor fourteenth place thus losing a massive fourteen points on Alessandro Petacchi who finished third in Bordeaux.
The gap between Petacchi and Hushovd is now ten points in the favour of the 36 year-old Italian. Ten points is not an impossible deficit for Hushovd to make up but he simply doesn't seem to have the punch to defeat Petacchi in a direct duel. Hushovd missed a lot of competition and high-level bunch sprints due to illness this season, which could be the reason for his lack of acceleration in the bunch sprints.
A few minutes after the end of the stage the Norwegian came out of the team bus and stated that the battle for the green jersey was over for him. “It's finished for the green jersey; it's over. I lost too many places today. I didn't do a good sprint. It was very hard today with the headwind,” Hushovd said. Though the green jersey seems to be out of reach for Hushovd he hopes to finish the Tour de France on a high note. “I want to do a good sprint on the Champs Elysées. If I can do that I'll leave the Tour happy with my performance,” Hushovd said.
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