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ToC Stage 3: Hushovd wins it in a sprint

Sprinters get their turn at ToC, but it isn't Cav's day...

Thor Hushovd used a perfect leadout from his Cervelo Test Team to propel himself to victory in yesterday's stage of the Tour of California. Hushovd's win did not affect the overall standings of the race and Levi Leipheimer remains in the lead with his teamate, Lance Armstrong back in fourth.

Leipheimer did not have a quiet day in the peloton though because an early crash, which he put down to momentary inattention, saw a hurried swap of bikes with one of his domestiques and the Astana riders then working to pull their race-leader back into the safety of the main bunch.

The stage had been billed as one for the sprinters but early on it looked like it might follow what seemed to be the devloping pattern for the race: wind, rain and and early escape caught late on with varying degrees of success. Today's break went very early – just over 7KM out from the start Brad White (OUCH-Maxxis) jumped away befor the first climb and was eventually joined by Bauke Mollema (Rabobank), Brian Vandborg (Liquigas), Jeff Louder (BMC Racing). At one point the quartet had five and a half minutes on the chasing pack, but the sprinter's teams were not going to be denied again and determinedly chased the escapers down to set up a final sprint.

Mark Cavendish's Columbia High Road team were conspicuous in those efforts, but the British sprinter got separated from his lead out man in the final kilmometre and could only manage fifth place. Hushovd's team by comparison provided a textbook example of how to do it providing him with a three man train which got him into position perfectly – his lead out man, Brett Lancaster came in sixth just behind Cavendish.

Top 10 ToC Stage 3
1 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervélo TestTeam 4.28.12 (37.3601 km/h)
2 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
3 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream
5 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - Highroad
6 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervélo TestTeam
7 Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Colavita / Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light
8 Freddy Rodriguez (USA) Rock Racing
9 Markus Zberg (Swi) BMC Racing Team
10 Pedro Horrillo (Spa) Rabobank

Top 10 ToC General Classification after Stage 3
1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 13.51.14
2 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad 0.24
3 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Slipstream 0.28
4 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0.30
5 Christopher Horner (USA) Astana 0.34
6 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana 0.38
7 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
8 José Luis Rubiera (Spa) Astana
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas
10 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 0.39's founder and first editor, nowadays to be found riding a spreadsheet. Tony's journey in cycling media started in 1997 as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning - finally handing on the reins in 2021 to Jack Sexty. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes, though he'd like to own a carbon bike one day.

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