- The race 2011
- All about the race
He spent seven days in the lead of the 2011 Tour de France but vowed to win a stage of the race while wearing the world champion’s rainbow jersey and today Thor Hushovd confirmed his versatility. He paced himself to perfection, fighting hard to get into an escape group that took a long time to establish, then managing the mountains of the Pyrenees and then timing his finishing surge like the true professional he is. He has become the second Norwegian winner of a stage of the 98th Tour, and given his Garmin-Cervélo team its third win this year. It is Hushovd’s ninth victory in the Tour de France that has included success in a time trial (the prologue in 2006), sprint wins, escapes victories, and triumphs on the pave of stage three last year. But there were two kings of the Tour in Lourdes – the stage winner and the new leader of the climbing classification, the perpetually aggressive Jeremy Roy.
Before today Roy had spent 560km of the 2,127km raced in the opening 12 stage in escape groups. He was the man who finally broke the tight grip of the peloton as it raced away from Pau and towards the col d’Aubisque. He led over each of the three categorized climbs of the 152.5km 13th stage and very nearly hung on to give France it’s first stage win. That’s not yet happened but the host nation now has three riders in three of the four prize jerseys: Roy in polka-dots, his team-mate Arnold Jeannesson in the white jersey, and Voeckler in the ‘maillot jaune’.
The Progress Report
The sun was shining at the start of the 152.5km 13th stage of the 2011 Tour de France. There were 174 riders at the sign on with Geert Steegmans (QST) the non-starter and Denis Galimzyanov (KAT) outside the time limit in stage 12. The official start of the stage from Pau to Lourdes was at 1.29pm. The itinerary took riders over three climbs: the cat-3 cote de Cuqueron (43.5km), the cat-4 cote de Belair (65km) and the 16.4km ascent of the col d’Aubisque (a hors categorie climb that peaked at 110km).
It was a fast start with lots of attacks early, including one involving Gilbert (OLO) but nothing was allowed to gain any advantage until after the first hour of racing. Chavanel (QST), was one of the early aggressors but he wasn’t given any leeway. Over the first climb, Roy (FDJ) went on the attack again – after having already spent 560km of the first 12 stages in escape groups – and he took the two points at the top. The average speed for the first hour was 49.1km/h and it was the constant pursuit of escapees that prompted it to be so fast. Eventually, at the 60km mark, Roy was joined by nine others: Tjallinghii (RAB), Hushovd (GRM), Fofonov (AST, Boasson Hagen (SKY), Pineau (QST), Moncoutie (COF), Petacchi (LAM), Bak (THR) and Gusev (KAT). Europcar then quelled the peloton and, by 65km the 10 led by 4’20”.
Three Early Casualties: Kloden, Boom and Isaichev Abandon
Kloden (RSH) was dropped early and eventually abandoned around the 30km mark. Other retirees before the midway mark were Boom (RAB) and Isaichev (KAT). The escapees rolled over the line for the intermediate sprint with Boasson Hagen taking 20 points ahead of Moncoutie. Meanwhile, Voigt (LEO) crashed in the feedzone and then Gilbert (OLO) tried to sneak ahead to take 11th place in the sprint but he was chased down by HTC and Movistar riders. Rojas outsprinted Cavendish for 11th place, 4’05” behind the escape.
Roy Attacks The Col d’Aubisque
At the base of the col d’Aubisque Hushovd attacked the lead group. He was chased by Roy and Tjallingii. The peloton arrived at the foot of the climb with a deficit of 6’00”. The lead group splintered: Moncoutie and Boasson Hagen joined forces and then came the remnants of the escapees. Delage (FDJ) attacked the peloton on the early slopes of the HC climb and, later, so did Mollema (RAB), Bouet (ALM). With 14km to climb, the counter-attacker were at 5’50” and the peloton – led by Europcar – was at 6’40”. Halfway up the climb, Roy dropped Hushovd. With 7km to go to the top this was the situation: Roy led by: 15” to Moncoutie, 30” to Hushovd, 50” to Boasson Hagen, 55” to Gusev, 1’30” to Pineau and Bak, 1’46” to Petacchi, 2’25” to Tjallingii... 6’20” to Bouet and Mollema and 7’20” to the peloton. With the first six over the top of the col d’Aubisque this is the situation: 1. Roy 20pts, 2. Moncoutie 16pts - at 55", 3. Hushovd 12pts - 2’05", 4. Gusev 8pts - 2’35", 5. Pineau 4pts - 3’55", 6. Bak 2pts. Boasson Hagen was also 3’55" behind... then came Petacchi (at 5’50”) and Mollema along with Vanendert (OLO) at 6’30”. The peloton was led over the top by Voeckler 8’00” behind Roy.
Roy: the King of the Mountains
The riders had to ride over the col du Soulor before descending to the finish in Lourdes. Roy increased his lead before cresting the last peak: 1’20” to Moncoutie, 145” to Hushovd... 6’35” to Boasson Hagen, Pineau and Bak. Gilbert (OLO) attacked the peloton with 33km to go and joined Mollema on the run in to Lourdes. Roy earned enough points to overtake Sanchez in the climbing competition but his advantage over Hushovd and Moncoutie dwindled in the dying kilometers of the stage: 35” with 15km to go, 16” with 10km to go, 12” with 5km to go... and then there was a moment of hesitation in the chase, or so it seemed...
Hushovd: The First Road Race World Champion To Win A Stage Since 2002
When we saw the surge from Hushovd with 3km to go, it was clear that he was just biding his time. He attacked Moncoutie with such ferocity that it took only 800m to catch Roy. With 2.2km to go, the world champion was in the lead. Roy faded in the finale and was overtaken by Moncoutie who finished 10” behind the first (road race) world champion to win a stage of the Tour since Oscar Freire claimed a sprint win early in the 2002 edition. This was Hushovd’s ninth victory in the Tour de France (including the prologue of the 2006 race). He has won a time trial world championship (as an under-23 rider) and a prologue of the Tour. He has won in sprints and escapes. He has won on the pave... and now he has won in the mountains.
Voeckler finished 17th in the same time as the peloton that was led home by Rojas (7’37” behind Hushovd). The Frenchman will wear the yellow jersey in stage 14.
Another stage, another day in yellow for the plucky fighter Thomas Voeckler.
"It was not logical to see so many attacks today. It all worked out in the end but we made sure that it unfolded this way. In the team every did their job perfectly now and I’m most impressed. If I ever have to surrender the yellow jersey it’s no fault of my team-mates.
“I know the climb to Plateau de Beille because I’ve done it several times when I was racing as an ‘espoir’ [young rider] as well as in the Rud du Sud. I know it will be even harder to defend my yellow jersey than at Luz Ardiden, which was already very, very difficult. We’ll see what happens, it is certain that it would be possible if the pack is riding at a reasonable tempo, and if the attacks among the favorites are not launched until about three kilometers from the finish. But they know that all the winners of the Plateau de Beille also won the Tour on the same year, and they will certainly shake things up a little.”
Twice in the first fortnight of the 2011 Tour de France has Jérémy Roy won the ‘Fighting Spirit’ award but this perpetually aggressive Frenchman didn’t mean to put himself in the escape today... it just happened that way. Now he’s the leader of the climbing classification as well – but that’s a consolation prize for the third-place finisher in Lourdes.
"The disappointment is too great. I’ll find it difficult to digest. It doesn’t matter if you win by a little or a lot because it’s only the win that counts. I did not really care about the polka-dot jersey when I went in the break, I wanted the stage win. I know I’m not a great champion and I have to do what I can with my ability, so I try and it still failed.
“It’s crazy, I did not mean to the day up ahead. It just happened that way. I went to the front of the peloton just to be attentive and just as I got to the front the escape was given some room to move and I just happened to be up the road.
“Then the group was watching Moncoutie the most and this allowed me to go ahead on the [Aubisque] climb before he went on the attack.
“As for the descent – I was over a minute ahead so I thought it was possible. It was only in the valley that it became very difficult. Then, when I heard the gap was down to 30 seconds, I knew it was almost over. It was two against one, plus a headwind. And when I had to take the two climbs near the entrance to Lourdes, it crushed me. I overcooked the engine. It would have taken a miracle for me to win, but it wasn’t to be this time.”
Team Garmin-Cervélo seemed to have lost leadership of the team standings for good after it dominated the first week following the team time trial. But the breakaway stage winner in Lourdes Thor Hushovd put the US-registered team of Jonathan Vaughters back on the top.
In the stage to Lourdes, Garmin-Cervélo finished five seconds ahead of Cofidis and FDJ.
In general rankings Hushovd’s squad gets the yellow ‘dossard’ again thanks to a five second advantage over the previous leaders, Leopard-Trek, which gave some assistance to the Europcar team at the front of the peloton today to help minimise the gap of the escapees. The squad Luxembourg certainly intend to return to the top at Plateau de Beille in stage 14.
The retirement of Andreas Klöden is likely to permanently remove the threat of RadioShack, the outgoing team champion which has lost three of their four leaders after the withdrawals, also on injury, Janez Brajkovic and Chris Horner.
He finished over 22 minutes behind the two-time winner of the green jersey but Mark Cavendish is still in command of the points classification at the 2011 Tour. The mountains aren’t great for him but he’s not complaining...
“Thor is winning some incredible races now. He’s an incredible rider. You could see he was aggressive all day, even at the beginning when the race was full on, he was always in the breaks and then he finally got away and although the climb wasn’t for him – it was going to be hard – but with the shape he’s in it wasn’t going to be too difficult for him.
“It’s not that easy for the sprinters here in the Pyrenees. We’ve got to sprint [at the intermediate prime] and then, 10km later, we’ve got to do a climb. It’s how it is; I’m not the only one who’s got to do it... but it just happens that the other guys are better climbers than me.
“I’m not comfortable in the green jersey – I’ve got to keep pushing away at it. As you can see, Gilbert is plugging away and getting points and there’s only two more sprint days left but we’ll keep trying and see what happens when we get to Paris."
A team time trial victory, a sprint stage for a team-mate, seven days in the yellow jersey... Thor Hushovd had every reason to be happy with his Tour in 2011 but the Norwegian still had unfinished business before the stage to Lourdes.
“I’ve been finding it hard the last few days because I went really deep in the first week and spent a lot of energy. This morning I felt much better and ended up going in the break. I did a perfect race tactically and I just managed to do everything good and I won on my own with the rainbow jersey, so it’s been an incredible day.
“I said throughout the first week that although I had the yellow jersey, I wanted to win a stage while wearing the rainbow jersey. Now that’s happened. Now I’m content. You’ve got to seize all chances you get to win a stage and we’ve seen Tyler Farrar [from the Garmin-Cervélo team] win a sprint, we won the team time trial and now this.
“I can’t believe that I’ve won a stage of the Tour in the mountains. I did a perfect ride over the col d’Aubisque and afterwards I was strong on the flat and then I also did a good tactical race today.
“I understand what Moncoutie did today, when he and I came together he knew that normally I’d beat him in a sprint and that’s why I was riding a lot, to try and limit the distance to Roy, and then to jump to him at the end. When I dropped Moncoutie it was perfect.”
Thomas Voeckler has finished in the peloton that includes the other riders that are well placed in the general classification. The Frenchman will wear the yellow jersey in stage 14.
The top 10 in the 13th stage of the Tour de France - from Pau to Lourdes - is: 1. Thor Hushovd (NOR) GRM - 152km in 3h47’36" (40.2km/h) 2. David Moncoutie (FRA) COF at 10" 3. Jérémy Roy (FRA) FDJ at 26" 4. Lars Bak (DEN) THR at 5’00" 5. Jérôme Pineau (FRA) QST at 5’02" 6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) SKY at 5’03" 7. Vladimir Gusev (RUS) KAT at 5’08" 8. Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) LAM at 5’16" 9. Maarten Tjallingii (NED) RAB at 5’16" 10. Philippe Gilbert (BEL) OLO at 6’48"
The world champion can do it all: he can time trial (to victory as he did in the world championships as an under-23 rider and again in the prologue at the start of the 2006 Tour), he can sprint (as two green jerseys in the Tour proves), he can win stages on the pavé (as he did in 2010) and he can climb the Aubisque and beat the peloton home with panache. This is his ninth stage victory (including the prologue) in the Tour de France.
Roy is the King of the Climbs, the master of the attack, the most aggressive in stages four and 13... but he is third in the stage today. He finished 30" behind Hushovd.
He was part of the winning team in stage two, spent a week in the yellow jersey and now the world champion has saluted an exceptional win in Lourdes.