Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Thor thunders to stage four win
Crédit Agricole's big Norwegian sprinter Thor Hushovd thundered away to take the bunch sprint on stage four in Joigny, beating Barloworld's Robert Hunter and Oscar Freire for the win. A day long five man break led from the 31.5 kilometre mark, but the sprinters' teams timed the catch perfectly, bringing them back with 7 kilometres to go. Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel - Euskadi), Matthieu Sprick (Bouygues Telecom), Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), and Christian Knees (Milram) gained a maximum of four minutes, but were not given as much ground as the stage three escape.
T-Mobile, Quickstep, Liquigas and Gerolsteiner all tried to gain control of the run-in to the sprint, but it would be Crédit Agricole's New Zealand champion Julian Dean who would finally deliver his man Hushovd to the line at the perfect moment. Points leader Tom Boonen shook his head in frustration at being denied another day.