Arctic Race of Norway – Stage 2


Norway celebrates another victory by a home riders as Alexander Kristoff outsprints Thor Hushovd on stage 2 in the Arctic Race of Norway

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Arctic Race of Norway – Stage 2

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After Lars-Petter Nordhaug found in the North Cape he was capable of winning the overall classification of the Arctic Race of Norway, the host country celebrated another victory by a local as Alexander Kristoff outsprinted Thor Hushovd in Alta.


Photo: ASO

Moreover, his triumph on home soil was kind of a post-Tour de France revenge over Marcel Kittel. Due to the windy conditions on the way to Alta, it took five hours for the riders to complete stage 2 at an average speed of 37.621km/h.

Krister Hagen (Øster Hus-Ridley), Laurent Evrard (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Andreas Erland (Sparebanken Sør) and Petter Theodorsen (Ringeriks Kraft) were the attackers of the day as the race was flagged off in Honningsvåg. They got an advantage of eight minutes after 45 kilometres of racing but the Belkin team was keeping the race under control thanks to the experience of their road captain Stef Clement who knew before the start that he’d have more time to spend in the wind at the head of the peloton after David Tanner was forced to pull out of the race due to a knee injury.

As Giant-Shimano and Katusha had this stage as a main target for Marcel Kittel and Alexander Kristoff respectively, they contributed to the chase. As the gap got smaller than two minutes within the last hour of racing, Hagen and Erland decided to continue without their two breakaway companions.

Their determination was exemplary. They only got swallowed up with 11 kilometers remaining. Three kilometres further, a crash took a few sprinters down, among which Sondre Holst Enger (IAM Cycling), Danilo Napolitano (Wanty-Gobert) and Sam Bennett (NetApp-Endura).

The top favourites were safe though. Norwegian team Joker seized the reins of the peloton with 5km to go but Giant-Shimano and Katusha showed their expertise again at the very end. Thanks to a good lead out initiated by his young compatriot Sven Erik Bystrøm, Kristoff proved himself the fastest on home soil while his arch-rival Kittel crossed the line in fourth position.

“It was almost a perfect sprint for me”, Kristoff reacted. “It was pretty chaotic but on the corner Sven did a good job. He had to keep me in the front. The team had controlled the race earlier. In the end I was the fastest. With 300 metres to go, I was actually not in the best position so I was a little bit nervous but I could take it. I’m happy. If I could choose, I’d choose to win on the Champs-Elysées but of course, it’s nice to beat Kittel here. It gives me the confidence that I can beat him.”

With the time bonus, Kristoff moved up to fifth in the overall ranking. “Tomorrow it’s too hard for me”, he warned his fans. “I don’t think I’m able to ride for GC but the last stage is another good one for me, so I’ll focus on that one.”

While Kristoff collected his twelfth victory of the season, the most prestigious ones being Milan-San Remo and two stages of the Tour de France, Nordhaug came home safely despite a crash early in the race. “It’s nothing”, said the race leader. “I’m confident ahead of the queen stage tomorrow. I strongly believe that I can win the Arctic Race of Norway.”

Stage 3 will feature a much shorter distance (132km) from Alta to Kvænangsfjellet where a 7-km uphill finish is expected to shape up the final standings.

1. Kristoff AlexanderTeam Katusha 5:30:08
2. Hushovd ThorBMC Racing Team
3. Theuns EdwardTopsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
4. Kittel MarcelTeam Giant-Shimano
5. Thwaites ScottTeam NetApp – Endura

114. Bennett SamTeam NetApp – Endura 10:13
115. Dempster ZakkariTeam NetApp – Endura


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