Hushovd sprints to win in stage 6 of Tour of Spain cycling

09:53, September 03, 2010      

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Norwegian sprinter Thor Hushovd won the sprint to take the sixth stage of the Vuelta de Espana cycle race in Murcia on Thursday.

Hushovd, who rides for the Cervelo Test team, produced a typical brave performance to hold of the challenge of Daniele Benatti and Grega Bole in the final straight.

The 151 kilometer stage was dominated by the 400 meter high mountain "la Cresta de Gallo" - literally the Cockrell's crest - which began 20 kilometers from the finish line.

Although three riders managed to form a breakaway group in the earlier moments of the race, the peloton kept them under control and the break was neutralized before the final climb.

The Cresta de Gallo is a steep four kilometers long climb over narrow, badly surfaced roads, followed by a rapid, technical and dangerous descent.

As expected it split the peloton, while ensuring that the fastest sprinters such as Tylar Farrar and Mark Cavendish were left behind and not in the group to contest the final sprint.

Hushovd, a rider with the ability to scale climbs such as the Cresta de Gallo was the fastest sprinter left in the leading group and his team worked hard in the closing kilometers to set him up for the sprint.

The Astana team, which had its hopes on Allan Davies, also worked hard in the closing kilometers, but Hushovd held his nerve and timed his sprint to perfect to win by a bike length, while Davis finished fourth.

Overall leader Phillipe Gilbert finished just behind and he retains the overall leadership of the race.

Friday's stage is a 181 kilometer ride between Murcia and Orihuela. It should produce another bunch sprint in which Cavendish will look to achieve his first win.

It is the last stage before the Vuelta moves into the mountains and the overall classification starts to become more clearly defined.

Source: Xinhua


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