|Garmin-Cervelo rider Thor Hushovd wore the yellow jersey for a week of the Tour de France [EPA]
Norway's Thor Hushovd won Friday's 13th stage of the Tour de France, overtaking Frenchman Jeremy Roy near the end after making up time on the downhill finish.
Roy thought he had clinched the first Tour stage win of his career by attacking at the foot of the huge climb to Col d'Aubisque, but he did not have a big enough gap to hold off Hushovd and David Moncoutie, who overtook
Roy near the line and finished second.
"I really didn't think I would win this stage,'' said Hushovd, who was also part of the Garmin-Cervelo team which won the team time trial early on in the race.
"I did things right tactically."
Thomas Voeckler kept hold of the race leader's yellow jersey for another day heading into Saturday's mammoth climbing stage.
The 33-year-old Hushovd, a two-time winner of the Tour's green jersey for best sprinter, is surprising even himself with his climbing skills.
"I gave it all during the first week. I suffered yesterday but today I had stamina,'' Hushovd said.
"I lost weight (this season), that's true. And I'm working differently, I'm riding a lot of climbs at training."
The peloton, including Voeckler, was lagging nearly nine minutes behind Hushovd when he completed the 152.5-kilometer jaunt from Pau to the Catholic shrine town of Lourdes.
The 28-year-old Roy's previous best on the Tour had been a second-place stage finish in 2008.
Having done most of the hard work climbing, Roy had to stay safe descending the 42 kilometers to the finish.
Roy had a nervous moment when a fan got too close and brushed him with his flag, causing Roy to swerve to the left, but he still seemed set for victory until world champion Hushovd - rated as one of the best in the world at downhills - started attacking aggressively on the descent.
|Europcar team rider Thomas Voeckler keeps the yellow jersey after 13th stage [EPA]
"It's true that I descend very well,'' Hushovd said.
Hushovd had caught up with Moncoutie with about 25 kilometers remaining, and they took it in turns trying to close the gap on Roy, who led by 1 minute, 10 seconds with 20 kilometers to go.
That was whittled down to 18 seconds with 10k remaining and Hushovd caught him with 2k left, denying him of his first Tour stage.
"The disappointment is too big, it will be hard to take in,'' Roy said.
Hushovd sympathised, but not too much.
"It's a shame for Roy, he is young, he rode a very good stage,'' Hushovd said.
"But I really wanted to win, too."
Hushovd had worn the yellow jersey earlier in the race after Garmin-Cervelo had won the team time trial on stage two, and Voeckler has worn it since taking it from him on the crash-marred ninth stage.
The main Tour contenders, including defending champion Alberto Contador of Spain and two-time runners-up Andy Schleck and Cadel Evans, drifted back and did not chase as they conserved energy for Saturday.
None of the main rivals took any time off each other, as there was no repeat of Thursday's attacks, where a tired-looking Contador lost 13 seconds to both Schleck and Evans.
Saturday's 14th stage is the third consecutive day of climbing in the Pyrenees and is the most gruelling so far.