Saturday was a day to remember for the Cervélo team, who made a clean sweep of the stage wins in the Tour of Catalonia and the Tour of Italy thanks to Thor Hushovdand Simon Gerrans.
Hushovd?s victory in the streets of Barcelona was the Norwegian?s sixth stage win in Catalonia and came after Australian Brett Lancaster had given the Norwegian a perfect lead-out.
With 200 metres to go, Hushovd opened up the throttle on the slightly rising finishing straight and by the line was more than a bike length ahead of Liquigas Fabio Sabatini. New Zealander Greg Henderson (Columbia-Highroad) took third.
?It was a very tough day?s racing,? Hushovd said afterwards. ?Lots of cimbs in the first part of the race, lots of attacks from the moment we started.?
?It was only in the last few kilometres we could pull things back together and be sure of a bunch sprint.?
?But the team worked wonderfully, and Hayden Roulston and Brett Lancaster were great at getting me through.?
For reasons best known to the Catalunya organsiers, the finish was not the same as the one which will be used in the Tour de France in Barcelona this July. Despite finishing barely 300 yards away from where the Tour stage ends, frustratingly they decided not to bother having a ‘trial run’.
For the record, Cycling Weekly discovered that the Tour’s finish is much more difficult and features a steeper uphill ramp than the slight rise used in yesterday’s stage.
Overall there have been no important changes, with Alejandro Valverde (Caisse D?Epargne) continuing to lead by 15 seconds ahead of Garmin?s Dan Martin. Haimar Zubeldia (Astana) is lying in third place.
The chances of the overall remaining the same are high on Sunday?s final stage, which has a hilly start, but a flat run-in. And with a spectacular finish on the Montmelo Formula One circuit, Hushovd and co. will be gunning for a third bunch sprint in three days to pull down the curtain on the Tour of Catalonia in style.