Heinrich Haussler soloed to his first ever Tour de France stage win in rain-soaked Colmar after a stage-long break in atrocious conditions.
The emotional Cervelo rider crossed the line in tears having left breakaway companion Sylvain Chavanel (Quickstep) with 30km remaining of the 200km. The shattered Frenchman limped home in fourth after fading badly.
But there were no such problems for the German resident, who revelled in the cold and rain on familiar roads in the Alsace region near the German border. “I love this type of weather and it’s really good for me,” said Haussler.
Christophe Moreau instigated the day’s proceedings with an attack in the opening kilometres to initiate a group of seven breakaways. With 60km remaining at the summit of the day’s biggest climb, we were down to four: Haussler, Chavanel, winner of the seventh stage, Brice Feillu (Agritubel), and Euskatel’s Amets Txurruka.
The yellow jersey group, led by Astana, and containing Bradley Wiggins along with all the major contenders, forced the pace on the Col du Platzerwasel and clawed back a big chunk of time on the ascent, but took the foot off the gas on the downhill and left the four to fight it out.
Haussler and Chavanel pulled away from Feillu and Txurruka before the Cervelo rider pulled clear on the descent and struck out alone for Colmar, finishing over four minutes ahead of Txurruka.
“Today was a super day,” said Haussler at the finish. “I know the area, I know these climbs. I don’t mind this kind of weather. When Chavenal was dropped I thought he was playing with me. I just did my ride at my own pace. Until the final kilometre I didn’t believe I was going to win. It was like a dream coming across the finish line, that’s why I was so emotional.”
Wiggins stays out of trouble
Bradley Wiggins punctured in the closing stages approaching Colmar but a quick change and steady-moving bunch allowed the Garmin rider to get back on to finish eighth.
The Brit star remains fourth overall after Levi Leipheimer’s retirement yesterday.
Pellizotti sees spots
Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) played it smart for the third day in a row to wrestle the polka dot top from Euskatel’s Egoi Martinez.
The Italian, third in this year’s Giro, now leads Martinez by three points going into tomorrow’s stage to Besancon, featuring just two third-category climbs.
Hushovd fights back
Thor Hushovd vowed to fight on in the points competition and is certainly not throwing in the towel yet having snatched the lead back from Mark Cavendish.
“I will never give up on the green jersey, yesterday I was just a little bit frustrated when I said that. I will go 100% all the way to Paris to fight for the green jersey. Now that we’re in the mountains it will be a little bit better for me.”
Tour de France stage 13 results
1. Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo
2. Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 4-11
3. Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel at 6-13
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step at 6-31
5. Peter Velits (Svk) Milram at 6-43
6. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo
7. Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) Ag2r
8. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Garmin-Slipstream
9. George Hincapie (USA) Columbia-HTC
10. Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank all at same time.
Overall classification after stage 13
1. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r in 53-30-30
2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana at 6sec
3. Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana at 8sec
4. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 46sec
5. Andreas Kloden (Ger) Astana at 54sec
6. Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC at 1-00
7. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Slipstream at 1-24
8. Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank at 1-49
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 1-54
10. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne at 2-16
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