Thor Hushovd: “I’m ready for a big year”
The first ever Tour of Dubai will have many great riders at the start, and one of these is Thor Hushovd, the 2010 world champion. Heading into his 3rd season with BMC, the Norwegian is determined to have a great season and repay the confidence showed by the team when he had difficulties for one and a half years.
With just a couple of days before the start of the Tour of Dubai, Andrea Agostini, BMC’s press officer, helped me get in touch with Thor Hushovd and thus find out more about the racing programme and the objectives he has for 2014.
– Thor, you had a difficult first half of the season in 2013, but things changed after winning the national title. Was that a crucial win?
That win was very important, and I needed it for the confidence. From that moment on, everything changed and I won lots of races. Also, it was very special to win in my hometown! I have to be honest, I didn’t expect to get so many wins, because it’s never easy to win a bike race. Biggest surprise was all the bunch sprints I won, after a few years without winning flat bunch sprints.
– How was racing in front of your fans in these new races, such as the Arctic Race of Norway and the Tour des Fjords?
It meant a lot to me, it’s incredible how big and popular cycling is in Norway. It was very special to race in my home country, to see and meet the fans, and also show them how the races are.
– Cycling is more and more popular in Norway. What do you think should be the next step: a World Tour team, a World Tour race, or hosting the World Championships?
I think all three would be nice, but if I could choose, I would say a World Tour team would be best. Then the team could sign more Norwegians, and that is what we need now, more Norwegians pros in the peleton. Would also be a big motivation for the younger riders, they will see there dream is closer.
– What’s your racing schedule for 2014?
I will do the Tour of Dubai, Tour Mediterraneen, Tour du Haut Var, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Paris-Nice, then all the Classics in the North. I would also like to do Tour de France this year, after not racing there over the past two years.
– And what goals do you have for this 15th season as a pro?
I’m ready and motivated, it helped a lot to finish last year on a high note. I also want to do well for BMC, since I had one and a half years with no results. My goal is to win a Classic, hopefully Paris-Roubaix, which will always be my dream. Then, I just want to win a lot of races.
– The Tour de France will have a stage with cobbles, four years later after you won a similar one. Do you think of this?
Absolutely! When I saw the course, I decided immediately to try to do the Tour. So that will also be a goal for me this year, to win that stage.
– Did you give a thought until what age will you continue in the peloton?
That is difficult to say. I’m very happy of what I’m doing, but first of all I would like to have a big year in 2014, then I will see if I can sign for two more years. If I do, it will be enough. What life brings after my career stops will just be an adventure.