Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) has won the third stage of the Tour of Missouri, after Mark Cavendish’s Columbia-HTC team ran out of lead-out men in the final kilometre of the race.
Attacks came thick and fast on the straight but undulating run-in to the line, all were effectively marked or reeled-in by Columbia, trying to keep it together for a bunch finish for their man Cavendish.
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However, the bunch split to pieces within the final kilometre before the finish, and only George Hincapie was left in front of Cavendish. It was a big ask for the American champion to drag Cavendish all the way to the line, and the Manxman found himself mixed up in a chaotic bunch as Hincapie faded.
Hushovd saw his chance and made the winning move. Juan Jose Haedo (Saxo Bank) came in for second, with Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) third. Cavendish came home in fifth.
“The team did a good job, they were pulling all day,” Hushovd said after the stage.
“[Brett] Lancaster attacked in the finale and put pressure on Columbia’s Hincapie and Cavendish so I followed him and sat on his wheel and had a great sprint the last 15 metres. Cavendish is the fastest sprinter in the world at the moment so it always feels good to beat him. I’m really happy for myself and also the team.”
Escapees Michael Friedman (Garmin-Slipstream) and Matthew Wilson (Team Type 1) had earlier attempted to keep the bunch at bay, but the duo were swallowed up by the Columbia-lead bunch with 8km to the finish.
Although it was originally announced that Cavendish retained the race lead, he lost it to Hushovd – both are tied on the same time at the top of the overall classification but Hushovd gets to wear the leader’s jersey based on aggregate of placings.
Tour of Missouri 2009: Stage three, Farmington to Rolla, 183.9km
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo in 4-26-50
2. Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank
3. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quick Step
4. Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas
5. Mark Cavendish (GB) Columbia-HTC
6. John Murphy (USA) OUCH-Maxxis
7. Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Colavita-Sutter Home
8. David Veilleux (Can) Kelly Benefit Strategies
9. Andrew Pinfold (Can) OUCH-Maxxis
10. Antonio Cruz (USA) BMC Racing Team all same time.
Overall classification after stage three
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo in 11-27-19
2. Mark Cavendish (GB) Columbia-HTC at same time
3. Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank at 4sec
4. Moises Aldape Chavez (Mex) Team Type 1 at 12sec
5. Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Astana at 14sec
6. Michael Friedman (USA) Garmin-Slipstream at 14sec
7. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quick Step at 16sec
8. Chris Anker Sorensen (Den) Saxo Bank at 16sec
9. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia-HTC at 17sec
10. Timothy Duggan (USA) Garmin-Slipstream at 17sec