Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) had not won a sprint since last year?s Vuelta a Espana, but he roared back into the headlines in Joigny thanks to a perfect lead out from team-mate Julian Dean and his own powerful sprint.
Hushovd had time to celebrate his win with his arms in the air as Robert Hunter (Barloworld) could only shout and wave his fist after finishing second. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) was third, ahead of Robert Forster (Gerolsteiner), Erik Zabel (Milram) and Danilo Napolitano (Lampre).
Hushovd admitted his failure to win a sprint in 2007 had affected his confidence and he suffered with stomach pains early in the 193km stage but was clearly at his best in the fast sprint.
?It?s great for me to win again,? Hushovd said with a big smile.
?I had a lot of problems at the start of the year and I didn?t have a great start to the Tour. I had stomach cramps at the start but fortunately I got through it.?
?Yesterday I messed it up but today everything went really well. Julian Dean did an amazing job for me again and it worked really well after he finished his lead-out. When he has the power like he has today? it?s exactly what I need to win. When Julian has the form like he has at the moment, he?s the best lead-out man in the world.?
?He went from the 500-metre mark and I was protected until 200 metres to go. It was an awesome lead-out and gave me time to sit up a bit before the line to put my arms up.?
?Last year I ended the Tour by winning on the Champs-Elysees and that?s what I tried to think about when luck was against me. Today I?m back and I know I?m going to win more stages because my confidence is back as well.?
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