Norwegian cycling legend Thor Hushovd. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grøtt / NTB scanpix
Thor Hushovd, the Norwegian pro cyclist who retired from the sport this autumn, will launch his controversial autobiography on Thursday.
"Thor" written by the cycling star will be available this week and readers can expect sensational insight into the sport, including how drug abuse and political corruption within the sport's ruling body has wrecked the image of cycling worldwide.
A key controversy revealed is Hushovd's Hollywood visit to Lance Armstrong in 2011, and the American cycling ace's revelation he was using drugs.
Hushovd states he felt exploited by one of his most respected rivals, who the Norwegian claims said: “All of us did it."
“I didn't believe what I heard. He was sitting there, saying straight out that he used dope!” wrote Hushovd.
“[Armstrong] confirmed what Tyler Hamilton and many others around him were to tell: That Lance Armstrong wasn't winning as a clean sportsman. The doping accusations came completely unexpectedly for me. But it seemed for [Armstrong] as if it wasn’t a big issue.”
“I wanted to tell him that he was wrong. That it wasn't at all correct that everyone doped themselves. That I didn't do it. I should have said that I myself was clean, that I never used dope and would never do it. Because I think Lance believed that I drugged myself too.”
Late in October 2012 Hushovd revealed an incident which called the sport further into disrepute. The cyclist received a text message from his manager Atle Kvålsvoll, saying “Call me. It’s important.”
The news came to Hushovd that Dane Steffen Kjærgaard, head of the Norwegian Cycling Federation (Norges Cycleforbund - NCF), had admitted to also using drugs to compete.
“I was paralyzed," wrote Hushovd.
“I admit that I had thought about it. Steffen had been riding together with Lance Armstrong in a period when there was a lot of drug taking, and in addition he had been at a time when the Danish cycling environment was quite hard for a period,” he said.
Hushovd adds in the book, he thought Kjærgaard never should have accepted the job as chief of the sport.
Hushovd also believed the International Cycling Union (UCI) hid positive drug test results from the public. He claimed it was done to protect the sport.
“I believe the system was corrupt,” he wrote, and he stated the case of Lance Armstrong as a clear example of this corruption.
“[Lance] was the great superstar and the golden calf of the sport. For UCI it would be a great loss if Armstrong was caught and revealed as a cheat. I believe that positive tests were hidden away in order to save Armstrong and to protect the sport of cycling.”
Hushovd retired from cycling in September this year after competing in the Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem, won by his BMC Racing team-mate Greg Van Avermaet.
In a 15 year professional career, Hushovd has been troubled with illness and injury. He’s suffered recurring effects from mononucleosis since 2012 and missed the final race of the 2014 road race world championship due to a crash injury.
The cycling veteran won the World Road Race Championship in 2010 and three National Road Trial Championships (2002, 2004, 2005). He has also won 10 individual stages of the Tour de France throughout his career.
36-year-old Hushovd lives between Monaco and Norway with his wife and two children.