Arctic Race of Norway – Stage 1


Norway’s Lars-Petter Nordhaug claimed a convincing and symbolic victory in his home race, Stage 1 of the Arctic Race of Norway

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Arctic Race of Norway – Stage 1

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ASO Press Release


Norway’s Lars-Petter Nordhaug claimed a convincing and symbolic victory at the North Cape, “Nordkapp” in the local language, as he rode everybody off his wheel in windy conditions in the last three kilometres, capping off a tremendous work from his Belkin team that placed three riders in the top 5.

The 30 year old from Lillehammer positioned himself as the hot favorite of the second Arctic Race of Norway. Team Belkin rode all the way to the North Cape behind the five-man breakaway composed of Luke Davison (BMC stagiere), Kevin Seeldrayers (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), August Jensen (Øster Hus-Ridley), Davide Frattini (Unitedhealthcare) and Morten Morland (Sparebanken Sør) that had got a gap as soon as the 118 riders left Hammerfest, the northernmost city in the world. They got a maximum lead of 7.45.

At the exit of the Honningsvåg tunnel with 38km to go, Jensen and Seeldrayers rode away as they were fighting for the King of the Mountain competition. The Norwegian became the first leader as he continued on his own until he collected enough points (6). Frederik Willmann of Ringeriks-Kraft was first to catch him.

With 20km to go, Mathias Brändle (IAM Cycling) was next to try his luck. He remained at the front with a slender advantage of no more than 25 seconds but an acceleration by Belkin put an end to his dream to win at the North Cape 7.2km before the mythical point.

That’s when Nordhaug personally entered in action. Simon Spilak (Katusha) reacted immediately. They got reined in with 4.3km to go while the trio of sprinting stars formed of Thor Hushovd (BMC), Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) had finally surrendered. Nordhaug wasn’t demoralized. He repeated his attack with 3km to go. This time it was the decisive move with a tail wind to finish it off.

“It’s amazing for a Norwegian to win a race here in Norway, especially at this place it’s really good”, Nordhaug commented. “I was feeling super but it looked like the sprinters would maybe fight for it, so my first attack was to make a selection but it was only Spilak who came after me, then I went again. We are the strongest team at this race for the overall. It’s our goal to win the Arctic Race of Norway. That’s why we had two guys pulling at the front all day.”

With an advantage of eleven seconds on GC over runner up Davide Villela of Cannondale who became the best young rider, Nordhaug already seized the reins of a race he came to for winning after performing well in the hilly part of the Tour de Pologne [he finished third in the King of the Mountain competition].

Stage 3 is set to be the queen stage but the North Cape has already shaped up the overall classification. Belkin has the best role with Steven Kruijswijk third at thirteen seconds and Jonathan Hivert fifth at twenty seconds while Swiss champion Martin Elmiger stands in fourth place.

It was a unique venue for Nordhaug to claim his first victory for Belkin almost two years after he won the World Tour GP Montreal for Team Sky. “It’s been a really nice finale”, witnessed Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme who was delighted to discover the most northerly point of mainland Europe.

“Landscapes here are wonderful. Luckily there was even a ray of sun at the end and no rain. The race delivered beautiful images and was very interesting. Belkin’s show was impressive today but the overall classification remains open.”

1. Nordhaug Lars Petter, Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 4:51:14
2. Villella Davide, Cannondale 0:06
3. Kruijswijk Steven, Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
4. Elmiger Martin, IAM Cycling 0:09

6. Voss Paul, Team NetApp – Endura
22. Thwaites Scott, Team NetApp – Endura @37
46. Bennett Sam, Team NetApp – Endura @1:25
52. Kittel Marcel, Team Giant-Shimano @1.38
56. Hushovd Thor, BMC Racing Team
78. Dempster Zak, Team NetApp – Endura


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