ROLLA — In a chaotic sprint after a day of serpentine climbing, sprinter Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team) edged out Juan Jose Haedo (Saxo Bank) for the Stage 3, presented by Emerson, win today at the Tour of Missouri. Argentina’s Haedo crossed the line with Italy’s Dario Cataldo (Quick Step), both two/tenths of a second behind Hushovd. Hushovd finished in 4 hours, 26 minutes, 50.4 seconds.
The win put the Norwegian “God of Thunder” in a virtual tie for the overall lead with Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC), who had worn the Missouri Tourism Leader’s Jersey for the first two days of the race. In the general classification (G.C.), both riders have a time of 11.27’19” after three days of racing. Hushovd will take over the Missouri Tourism Leader’s Jersey based on the aggregate of place finishes. Cavendish finished fifth on today’s stage.
“It’s always good to be in yellow and first of all I’m more happy to win a stage because of course it’s confusing to get beaten by Cavendish every time, so I’m really happy to win. For me it was a perfect final, and all my teammates on Cervelo Test Team, they did a really great job,” said Hushovd, who won the prestigious green sprinter’s jersey as the Points Classification leader in the 2009 Tour de France.
“When we have yellow jersey we have more responsibility. Tomorrow we see what we can do; we do our best to keep this jersey for as long as possible.”
Today’s Stage 3, presented by Emerson, was the longest and most hilly stage in this year’s Tour of Missouri, covering 112.4 miles (180.9 km). The field of 116 riders stayed intact, climbing more than 7,000 feet through the Saint Francois Mountains.
With no more than 10 kilometers covered outside of the start host city of Farmington, Garmin-Slipstream launched an attack of two American riders, Will Frischkorn and Michael Friedman. They were joined just before the first Michelob Ultra King of the Mountain climb, a five kilometer ascent with numerous switchbacks on Missouri Highway 32, by Team Type I Australian climber Matt Wilson.
Frischkorn was dropped with close to 13 miles to go. Friedman and Wilson worked together into Rolla, and were caught by a storming peloton with five miles to go to the finish in the picturesque Meramec Valley Region.
With the Stage 3 win today, Thor Hushovd also takes over the Edward Jones Sprint jersey from Cavendish. The 23-year-old British rider will wear the 180 Energy/Icelandic Glacial Water Best Young Rider jersey in tomorrow’s stage. For his attacks to win all three KOM climbs, Wilson will wear the Drury Hotels Most Aggressive Rider jersey tomorrow. Moises Aldape (Team Type I) of Mexico will continue wearing the Michelob Ultra KOM jersey.
New to the Top 10 in the G.C. are Friedman (in sixth) and Cataldo (seventh). Current Australian national time trial champion Michael Rogers (Columbia-HTC) is in ninth, 17 seconds back. There are 70 riders who are 20 seconds off the lead, including 2007 Tour of Missouri champion George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), 2009 Amgen Tour of California champion Levi Leipheimer (Team Astana), and four-time U.S. Professional Time Trial champion David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream).
Hushovd received a custom crystal and wood trophy from Kent’s Jewelry and bonus prize money from stage sponsor Brewer Science, Inc. today. The $10,000 bonus prize purse for the Top 3 stage finishers made the day’s event the richest stage in the history of the Tour of Missouri.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to present the yellow jersey. It was the best finish I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world,” said Dr. Terry Brewer of Brewer Science Inc., one of the top sponsors for the Rolla host city.
Stage 4, presented by Missouri Farm Bureau, is the only repeat stage from last year’s Tour of Missouri, covering 109.2 miles (175.7 km), from St. James to the capital city of Jefferson City. There will be two finishing circuits in downtown Jefferson City, overlooking the Missouri River.