Yesterday's stage win tempered the dissapointment for Thor Hushovd after he was one of several sprinters who missed out on the chance for points on Monday. A pact of non-aggression during the crash-marred second stage meant the main bunch crossed the finish line at a snail's pace nearly four minutes behind stage winner Sylvain Chavanel. Hushovd was one of several riders who disagreed with the decision of then race leader Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland to neutralise the stage in a bid to end the risk of further injury in the wet conditions. "Everyone made a gentleman's agreement not to sprint, but I lost an important opportunity to gain points," the Norwegian said.
As well as hunting for a second stage win today, Cervelo rider Hushovd has the chance to cement his grip on the points competition green jersey, for which the most points can be won at the finish line of the flatter stages. In 2009, Hushovd fought an exciting battle for the jersey with Britain's Mark Cavendish before coming out on top. Compared to the treacherous ride yesterday, the 153.5km stage through Champagne country today from Cambrai to Reims will be like a walk in the park.
The only thing Cervelo must worry about are the seven roundabouts that feature in the final 5km of the race. If he gets through those, Hushovd will be favoured to edge his sprint rivals because the finish line is at the end of a slight rise for the final few hundred metres, which suits his style perfectly. * AFP