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In a stage where everybody expected Kristoff to take his third win in a week, Baugnies surprises the sprinters by launching a great solo move 2km from the line to take both the stage win and the leader's jersey in the Tour des Fjords

Photo: Sirotti










28.05.2014 @ 20:28 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jerome Baugnies (Wanty) denied Alexander Kristoff (Kattusha) the win many had expected him to take in today's first stage of the Tour des Gjords when he launched a brave solo attack 2km from the line. The young Belgian held on to take a surprise victory and the first leader's jersey in the five-day race while Kristoff was beaten by Magnus Cort (Cult), Sondre Holst Enger (Sparebanken) and Nikolay Trusov (Tinkoff-Saxo) in the sprint for second.


Last week Alexander Kristoff seemed to be virtually unbeatable in the sprints at the Tour of Norway and the local hero was again the big favourite when the racing in Norway continued with the five-day Tour des Fjords that opened with a rolling stage today. Despite the many small climbs, the stage was expected to end in a bunch sprint and in that scenario it was hard to imagine that anyone would be able to beat the Norwegian.


However, the finale of the stage panned out in a different way that expected as the many hills had emptied the Katusha team. Hence, Kristoff was left on his own in the finale and this made him vulnerable for attacks.


2km from the line Jerome Baugnies saw an opportunity to surprise the favourite and he launched a gutsy solo move. No one was able to bring the Belgian back and so he took an unexpected win for Wanty in the first stage of the race.


Kristoff didn't even take second as Magnus Cort, Sondre Holst Enger and Nikolay Trusov were faster than him in the sprint for second.


The opening 161km stage from Bergen to Ulvik was mostly flat but had to climbs along the way. The first one came pretty early and wasn't expected to play too much of a role but the final one came inside the final 20km and was expected to put the sprinters under pressure.


Pretty early a rather big 9-rider move was formed, with Thomas Sprengers (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise ), Wesley Kreder (Wanty - Groupe Gobert), Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural - Seguros RGA), Arakdiusz Owsian (Activejet Team), Piotr Havik (Rabobank Development Team), Reidar Borgersen (Team Joker), Filip Eidsheim (Team, Michael Reihs (Cult Energy Vital Water) and Thomas Stewart (Madison Genesis) working well together to build up a gap. They quickly got a 5-minute advantage as they hit the first climb where Txurruka showed his climbing skills by crossing the line in first position.


The gap continued to grow and reached 6 minutes before Katusha and Cannondale started to reduce their deficit. Up ahead, Eidsheim won the first intermediate sprint but was beaten into second by Sprengers in the second one.


As they hit the final climb, Cannondale was in complete control and a few kilometres up the ascent, the brought the escape back. A lot of riders tried to attack but none of them managed to get a significant gap as they started the descent down to the finish.


All was set for a big sprint and Kristoff was in a good position as he had seemed to be at ease on the climb. However, the script was changed when Baugnies attacked 2km from the line. Being isolated,  Kristoff had to do all the work on his own and that cost him dearly as he was unable to bring back the Belgian.


The hard work had also taken out the sting of his legs and when the rest of the peloton sprinted for second, he has to see Cort and Holst Enger complete the podium behind the surprise winner.


Kristoff will get a chance to take revenge in tomorrow's second stage which is another rolling affair. This time, however, the only climb comes at the midpoint and with a flat final part, all is set for a big bunch sprint in Haugesund.



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