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Sprinters coming close

By Brecht Decaluwé

Thor Hushovd came close to racking up another win on the Champs Elysées but he was beaten by Daniele Bennati. After the finish Cyclingnews talked with the Norwegian giant about his Tour de France. "I did a good Tour de France since I won a stage and could also take two second places," Hushovd said. "The best souvenirs were the crowds along the course and my stage win of course. Especially here along the Champs Elysées it was fantastic with those big crowds and that special ambiance, I hope it stays like this," Hushovd continued. About today's stage the 'bear from Grimstad' reconciled to the facts. "I lacked freshness although I was close to repeating last year's win; I was stopped by a strong Bennati."

Robert Hunter was another one of the fast men that came close to a second stage win in the Tour de France and his first on the Champs Elysées, but he struggled with his position in the run-up to the sprint. "The difference was that I was in the wind from the corner - with 250m to go - so that was still a long way. Tom was on my wheel and Zabel in front. When we came out of the corner there was a bit of a headwind. I couldn't get in a wheel so I went as hard as I could," Hunter explained to Cyclingnews.

The South-African was very happy with his performance in the Tour de France since he proved he is a real world-class sprinter. "If I would've had one more victory it would be different but I can't complain, I'm happy. I definitely made a mental switch but I'm also more concentrated when I go to the finish." He mentioned that the green jersey battle helped him to focus on the sprints even more, adding that "knowing that you have to be there to battle for the green jersey is certainly motivating. Next year we will have a couple of more guys to help me in the team. This year I was really good in Milano-Sanremo, although I only finished tenth since I couldn't sprint 100 percent after a crash," Hunter looked forward to more wins in the future.

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