Thor Hushovd, the world champion, won Stage 13 of the 2011 Tour de France on Friday, a 101-mile ride from Pau to Lourdes, France, that featured a hors catégorie climb up the Col d'Aubisque followed by a chilling descent to the finish line. Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) beat France's David Moncoutie (Cofidis) by 10 seconds to capture the stage win.
Hushovd was part of an early breakaway that fell apart on the climb, and by the summit, he found himself a full two minutes behind the leader, Jérémy Roy. But Hushovd's skills in the long descent were on full display, as he teamed with Moncoutie to pull in Roy, eventually passing him with under 3km left. (Visit our excellent cycling blog, Podium Cafe, for a full play-by-play -- pedal-by-pedal? -- of the final 20 km.)
Roy's small consolation for missing out on the stage victory is that he now gets to put on the polka dot jersey as the king of the mountains.
Afterward, Hushovd, who is a sprinter, proclaimed attacking on Friday was the "craziest" thing he'd ever done.
"This is the best moment of my career," the 33-year-old Hushovd said after securing his 10th Tour stage win. "Winning alone after a hard climb like the Col d'Aubisque is incredible. It's the craziest thing I have ever done. I took it easy in the mountains yesterday and saved my legs, which is why I won today."
It was the ninth Tour victory of Hushovd's career, who now sits 48th in general classification after wearing the Yellow Jersey from Stage 2 through Stage 9.
The overall standings remain unchanged, means Thomas Voeckler keeps the Yellow Jersey for at least another stage. He's followed by Frank Schleck (+1:49) and Cadel Evans (+2:06). Mark Cavendish will continue to ride in the green jersey as the Tour's points leader.