Thor Hushovd gave the Cervélo TestTeam a strong start to the Classics season by taking a commanding victory in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Saturday.
The big Norwegian came out of a chasing group which caught two escapees, Sebastian Langeveld (Rabobank) and Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo), with only a few hundred metres to go. Kevyn Ista of Agritubel and Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) rounded out the podium.
The winner had the advantage of a teammate in the breakaway, and did not imagine he would be the one to win.
"This is unexpected, I thought Haussler would have it," Hushovd said. "I thought he and Langeveld had all the chances to sprint for victory." When the duo was caught, things were simple for Hushovd. "In the end, all I had to do was sprint."
The messy finale was overshadowed by a crash when Langeveld was caught and wanted to get out of the way. He moved to the left side of the road, blocking Filippo Pozzato (Katusha). Pozzato was at full speed, contesting for victory. The Italian went down, impeding Tom Boonen in the process.
Boonen almost went down, so was lucky he didn't crash.
"On the other hand, I felt really strong and I could have been on the podium. I was in Hushovd's wheel when the crash happened." Boonen had to swerve around Pozzato. "I lost 30 metres and I had to re-start my sprint." Pozzato also felt he had good chances of winning.
"I was alongside Hushovd when I crashed." Pozzato suffered a hematoma on his left thigh. "I injured my left elbow, too – it hurts pretty badly."