Hushovd wins miracle stage in Lourdes

World champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) took his ninth Tour stage win and described it as the "best moment ever in my career" when he rode alone into Lourdes after an epic 30km pursuit of plucky Jérémy Roy (FDJ). "Winning alone on a hard day like this when we went over the Col d'Aubisque and doing it wearing the rainbow jersey is, I think, incredible. I'm just so happy now," said Hushovd.

After making the initial attack from a breakaway group of 10 riders on the opening ramps of the Aubisque, the Norwegian sprinter was dropped by the Frenchman and by David Moncoutié (Cofidis) further up the famous HC-category climb. Two minutes in arrears going over the summit, Hushovd steadily chipped away at the FDJ rider's advantage heading towards the finish.

He caught Moncoutié on the descent off the Soulor, and the pair set about chasing down the lone leader, Roy. At 15km to go, the two chasers had cut Roy's lead to just 31 seconds, with Hushovd doing the bulk of the pace-setting. They continued to close, but for a time Roy held them at 15-20 seconds as the fading Moncoutié was either unable or unwilling to contribute to the chase, knowing all too well that Hushovd was sure to beat him if the finish came down to a sprint.

With 3km left, Hushovd kicked away from Moncoutié and was quickly up to Roy. The Norwegian didn't wait to take on the FDJ rider in the sprint, jumping past him straight away and stomping clear to win with a comfortable gap over Moncoutié.

"It's the craziest thing I've ever done," admitted Hushovd. "I was happy to be in the break. I was obviously strong. I went on the attack on the Aubisque so that I could ride at my own pace. My goal was to come back on the descent, which I finally managed to do. It's incredible how quickly things have turned for me. Yesterday and the few days before I was feeling tired, but I did the right thing yesterday by taking it easy and losing quite a lot of time. I think that saved my legs and that's why I won today."

It was impossible not to have sympathy for Roy, who has been one of the revelations of the race. Already on the attack yesterday with Geraint Thomas on the road to Luz-Ardiden, Roy rolled in an almost tearful third. His reward for a fifth attack in 13 stages was the stage's combativity prize and the King of the Mountains jersey, which he took from Samuel Sánchez after adding his conquest of the Aubisque to yesterday's on the Tourmalet.

"Perhaps one day I will look back on this stage as a great effort, but at the moment I feel too disappointed to see it that way," Roy confessed.

There was little change in the overall standings, with Thomas Voeckler finishing towards the front of the peloton to hold the yellow jersey for another day, although Philippe Gilbert did jump up to ninth overall thanks to an attack coming off the Soulor, which earned him 10th place on the stage almost a minute ahead of the yellow jersey group.

Looking ahead to tomorrow's stage to Plâteau de Beille, where he famously held the yellow jersey against most predictions in 2004, Voeckler said: "I've got good memories of Plâteau de Beille and we'll see what happens. What I know is that Luz-Ardiden was very, very hard and I think tomorrow it will be harder. I'm very proud of the way my team has ridden and if I do lose the jersey tomorrow I won't be blaming my team because they've done a great job up to now."

Asked about the fact that every previous winner at Plâteau de Beille has gone on to win the Tour in Paris, BMC team leader Cadel Evans commented: "Plâteau de Beille is a long climb after a hard day. But if I don't win tomorrow I'm not going to give up trying to win, let's put it that way. But it is certainly going to be one of the race's most important days."

A frantic start

The stage started without Quick Step's Gert Steegmans, who was involved in a crash on stage five, but only found out yesterday he had fractured the scaphoid bone in his wrist. Katusha sprinter Denis Galimzyanov was also a non-starter having finished outside the time limit on stage 12.

The profile of the stage suggested it was ideal for a breakaway to go away and stay away. Right from the off it was clear that dozens of riders were determined to be part of that break. The racing was frantic, with groups going away, being chased down and others countering. The pace proved too much for RadioShack's Andreas Klöden, who was soon off the back and struggling with back problems that had been exacerbated by a crash yesterday. The German quit with 25km covered, leaving his team with just five riders in the race.

Gilbert was once again one of the animators, but in the end he had to yield to the pull of the main pack, who were determined to allow him no room for manoeuvre. FDJ's Roy, however, got a bit more leeway. Despite being on the attack for most of yesterday with Thomas, the Frenchman pressed on and was eventually joined by nine riders: Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank), Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo), Dmitriy Fofonov (Astana), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), David Moncoutié (Cofidis), Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD), Lars Bak (HTC-Highroad) and Vladimir Gusev (Katusha).

As Tjallingii was joining the action at the front of the race, teammate Lars Boom was the latest to struggle off the back. With 50-odd kilometres covered, the Dutchman became the 25th rider to leave the race.

The breakaway riders didn't contest the intermediate sprint, Boasson Hagen leading the 10 escapees through. Five minutes later, the battle for 11th place was much more hard fought. HTC-Highroad committed several riders to lead out Mark Cavendish, but he was outwitted by Movistar's José Joaquín Rojas, who accelerated early and held on to edge it as the Briton gesticulated furiously.

Attacks on the Aubisque

Soon after the breakaway riders began the ascent of the Aubisque, world champion Hushovd attacked from the back of the group. Initially, no one followed. Roy then made a move behind the Norwegian, and joined him just above the spa town of Eaux-Bonnes. Behind this pair, Moncoutié moved clear of the remaining eight and was for a short time joined by Boasson Hagen.

Nine kilometres from the summit, Roy kicked away from Hushovd, who was soon caught and dropped by Moncoutié. The Cofidis climbing specialist closed to within 100 metres of Roy at one point, but the irrepressible FDJ rider steadily eased away again to lead by 53 seconds going over the summit, with Hushovd at 2:03. The peloton came over more than eight minutes down.

Roy gained a few more seconds on the uncategorised ascent over the Soulor pass, from where he had 33 mostly downhill kilometres into the finish. Hushovd, renowned as one of the best descenders in the sport, caught Moncoutié coming off the Soulor, and the pair quickly began to trim back Roy's advantage. At the 20km banner his lead was 1:05. At 15km it was less than half that, at 10km it was just 18 seconds.

For a few minutes, it looked as if Roy might just hang on as the road kicked up a couple of times on the approaches to Lourdes. Sadly for him, though, Hushovd had a little bit left in the tank thanks to his decision to hold back yesterday. In the end, that may well have been the difference between them.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo3:47:36
2David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne0:00:10
3Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ0:00:26
4Lars Ytting Bak (Den) HTC-Highroad0:05:00
5Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team0:05:02
6Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling0:05:03
7Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team0:05:08
8Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:05:16
9Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:06:48
11Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:06:51
12Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team0:07:37
13Tony Gallopin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 12 - Cell 2
14Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre - ISDRow 13 - Cell 2
15Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 14 - Cell 2
16Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard TrekRow 15 - Cell 2
17Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 16 - Cell 2
18Gianni Meersman (Bel) FDJRow 17 - Cell 2
19Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard TrekRow 18 - Cell 2
20Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 19 - Cell 2
21Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 20 - Cell 2
22Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Pro Team AstanaRow 21 - Cell 2
23Julien El Fares (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 22 - Cell 2
24Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 23 - Cell 2
25Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 24 - Cell 2
26Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 25 - Cell 2
27Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-HighroadRow 26 - Cell 2
28Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 27 - Cell 2
29Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 28 - Cell 2
30Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJRow 29 - Cell 2
31Peter Velits (Svk) HTC-HighroadRow 30 - Cell 2
32Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 31 - Cell 2
33Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 32 - Cell 2
34Christian Knees (Ger) Sky ProcyclingRow 33 - Cell 2
35Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 34 - Cell 2
36Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 35 - Cell 2
37Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 36 - Cell 2
38Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank SungardRow 37 - Cell 2
39Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJRow 38 - Cell 2
40Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 39 - Cell 2
41Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Leopard TrekRow 40 - Cell 2
42Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard TrekRow 41 - Cell 2
43Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 42 - Cell 2
44Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La MondialeRow 43 - Cell 2
45Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 44 - Cell 2
46Nicki Sörensen (Den) Saxo Bank SungardRow 45 - Cell 2
47Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky ProcyclingRow 46 - Cell 2
48Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 47 - Cell 2
49Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 48 - Cell 2
50Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 49 - Cell 2
51Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 50 - Cell 2
52George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 51 - Cell 2
53Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Team RadioShackRow 52 - Cell 2
54Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShackRow 53 - Cell 2
55Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky ProcyclingRow 54 - Cell 2
56Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 55 - Cell 2
57David Loosli (Swi) Lampre - ISDRow 56 - Cell 2
58Jens Voigt (Ger) Leopard TrekRow 57 - Cell 2
59Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
60Yuriy Trofimov (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 59 - Cell 2
61Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 60 - Cell 2
62Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 61 - Cell 2
63Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 62 - Cell 2
64Sebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 63 - Cell 2
65Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) Pro Team AstanaRow 64 - Cell 2
66Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Pro Team Astana0:07:52
67Benjamin Noval Gonzalez (Spa) Saxo Bank SungardRow 66 - Cell 2
68Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard TrekRow 67 - Cell 2
69Denys Kostyuk (Ukr) Lampre - ISDRow 68 - Cell 2
70Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Saxo Bank SungardRow 69 - Cell 2
71Brian Vandborg (Den) Saxo Bank SungardRow 70 - Cell 2
72Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank SungardRow 71 - Cell 2
73Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 72 - Cell 2
74Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 73 - Cell 2
75Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 74 - Cell 2
76Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 75 - Cell 2
77Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 76 - Cell 2
78Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 77 - Cell 2
79Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 78 - Cell 2
80Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 79 - Cell 2
81Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 80 - Cell 2
82Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 81 - Cell 2
83Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Saxo Bank SungardRow 82 - Cell 2
84Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team RadioShackRow 83 - Cell 2
85Jesús Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Saxo Bank SungardRow 84 - Cell 2
86Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 85 - Cell 2
87Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Team RadioShackRow 86 - Cell 2
88David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 87 - Cell 2
89Joost Posthuma (Ned) Leopard TrekRow 88 - Cell 2
90Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 89 - Cell 2
91Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 90 - Cell 2
92Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 91 - Cell 2
93Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 92 - Cell 2
94Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky ProcyclingRow 93 - Cell 2
95Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Leopard TrekRow 94 - Cell 2
96David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:08:03
97Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Saxo Bank SungardRow 96 - Cell 2
98Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing TeamRow 97 - Cell 2
99Addy Engels (Ned) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
100Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Pro Team Astana0:08:07
101Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Team RadioShack0:08:38
102Anthony Charteau (Fra) Team Europcar0:08:40
103Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar0:09:24
104Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:13:04
105Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar TeamRow 104 - Cell 2
106Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun0:15:13
107Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 106 - Cell 2
108Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 107 - Cell 2
109Tristan Valentin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 108 - Cell 2
110Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Pro Team Astana0:15:42
111Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 110 - Cell 2
112Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJRow 111 - Cell 2
113Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-HighroadRow 112 - Cell 2
114Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 113 - Cell 2
115Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 114 - Cell 2
116Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quickstep Cycling Team0:18:32
117Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre - ISDRow 116 - Cell 2
118Jérémie Galland (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 117 - Cell 2
119Ben Swift (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 118 - Cell 2
120Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 119 - Cell 2
121Mickaël Delage (Fra) FDJRow 120 - Cell 2
122Simon Gerrans (Aus) Sky ProcyclingRow 121 - Cell 2
123Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 122 - Cell 2
124Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale0:22:08
125Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 124 - Cell 2
126Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 125 - Cell 2
127Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 126 - Cell 2
128Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 127 - Cell 2
129Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-HighroadRow 128 - Cell 2
130Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 129 - Cell 2
131Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard TrekRow 130 - Cell 2
132Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) HTC-HighroadRow 131 - Cell 2
133Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 132 - Cell 2
134Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Pro Team AstanaRow 133 - Cell 2
135Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 134 - Cell 2
136Yohann Gene (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 135 - Cell 2
137Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 136 - Cell 2
138Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 137 - Cell 2
139José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 138 - Cell 2
140Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 139 - Cell 2
141Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 140 - Cell 2
142Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar TeamRow 141 - Cell 2
143Bernhard Eisel (Aut) HTC-HighroadRow 142 - Cell 2
144Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-HighroadRow 143 - Cell 2
145Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 144 - Cell 2
146Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 145 - Cell 2
147Tyler Farrar (USA) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 146 - Cell 2
148Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Pro Team AstanaRow 147 - Cell 2
149Egor Silin (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 148 - Cell 2
150Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 149 - Cell 2
151Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 150 - Cell 2
152Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing TeamRow 151 - Cell 2
153André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 152 - Cell 2
154Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 153 - Cell 2
155Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJRow 154 - Cell 2
156Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 155 - Cell 2
157Pablo Urtasun Perez (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 156 - Cell 2
158Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 157 - Cell 2
159Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 158 - Cell 2
160Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 159 - Cell 2
161Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 160 - Cell 2
162Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 161 - Cell 2
163Laurent Mangel (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 162 - Cell 2
164Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team AstanaRow 163 - Cell 2
165Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 164 - Cell 2
166Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 165 - Cell 2
167William Bonnet (Fra) FDJRow 166 - Cell 2
168Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 167 - Cell 2
169Danny Pate (USA) HTC-HighroadRow 168 - Cell 2
170Julian Dean (NZl) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 169 - Cell 2
171Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne0:27:41
DNFAndreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShackRow 171 - Cell 2
DNFLars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 172 - Cell 2
DNFVladimir Isaichev (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 173 - Cell 2
DNSGert Steegmans (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 174 - Cell 2
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Points
#Rider Name (Country) Te