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In what was expected to be a ceremonial sprint stage in Copenhagen, the Tour of Denmark was turned upside down when Nicola Boem took a surprise stage win and Michael Valgren won the race overall

Photo: mbaek.dk

BARDIANI CSF FAIZANE

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MANUEL BOARO

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MARTIN MORTENSEN

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MICHAEL VALGREN

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POSTNORD DANMARK RUNDT

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VALERIO AGNOLI

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10.08.2014 @ 20:02 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Tour of Denmark was turned completely on its head on the final day when a 14-rider group managed to hold off the peloton in what was expected to be a traditional sprint stage. Nicola Boem (Bardiani) beat Valerio Agnoli (Astana) and Martin Mortensen (Cult) in the sprint for the stage win while Michael Valgren Andersen (Tinkoff-Saxo) surprisingly took the overall victory by gaining 42 seconds on previous leader Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo).

 

The final stage of the Tour of Denmark is traditionally a pretty calm affair that ends with a big bunch sprint on Frederikberg Allé in the centre of Copenhagen but this year things turned out to be completely different. Race leader Manuele Boaro didn’t get the ceremonial ride he was hoping for when windy conditions and an aggressive peloton turned the race upside down.

 

After a very fast start that made it impossible for anyone to get clear in the first 100km of the race, a 14-rider front group suddenly emerged. While Boaro had missed the move, his teammate Michael Valgren had made the selection and he was the best placed rider in the group.

 

Despite a hard chase from the peloton, they never caught the escapees who sprinted for the win in the prestigious finish in Copenhagen. Nicola Boem took the biggest win of his career when he held off Valerio Agnoli and Martin Mortensen in the final dash to the line.

 

The big winner, however, was Valgren who was suddenly catapulted into the top position and won the race ahead of Lars Bak (Lotto Belisol) who had been one of the driving forces in the break, and Boaro who dropped to third.

 

The stage took place on a 175km course from Kalundborg to Copenhagen and was a mostly flat affair. Four smaller climbs in the first part could potentially test the riders but the race ended with 10 laps of the traditional flat finishing circuit in the capital.

 

Right from the start, the riders had a strong crosswind and this prompted Lotto Belisol to try to split things. They managed to get Bak into a strong escape trio that also contained Marco Coledan (Bardiani) and Søren Kragh Andersen (TreFor) but at the 10km mark, the group was caught.

 

Martin Mortensen (Cult) was the next rider to try an attack and he managed to get a 30-second advantage. The Dane won the first KOM sprint ahead of Marc De Maar, Federico Zurlo and Mikkel Mortensen, with the two Unitedhealthcare riders sprinting to protect the lead for their teammate John Murphy who had suffered a mechanical.

 

A 7-rider group with Murphy, Mads Pedersen (Cult), Tosh van der Sande (Lotto), Thomas Riis (TreFor) and Nico Sijmens (Wanty) escaped before the second KOM sprint where Murphy beat Pedersen, van der Sande and Sijmens. Moments later the group was caught and the attacking continued.

 

As no one could get clear, Murphy also won the third sprint to secure the win in the competition. As Lotto Belisol kept the race firmly under control, no one had escaped when the riders reached the first intermediate sprint.

 

Here second placed Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) beat Valgren and Sean De Bie (Lotto) to score important bonus seconds and he was again fastest in the second and final sprint, meaning that he had reduced his overall deficit from 10 to 4 seconds. Moments later, a group finally got clear when the peloton took a short breather.

 

Boem, Agnoli, Mortensen, Troels Vinther (Cult), Bak, Alessandro Bazzana (Unitedhealthcare), Ignatas Konovalovas (MTN), Cesare Benedetti (NetApp), Rasmus Quaae, Mark Sehested, Rasmus Mygind (all TreFor), Valgren and Jelle Wallays (Topsport) had made it into the group that had an advantage of 35 seconds when they crossed the line for the first time. While Astana chased hard, the front group managed to extend its lead to one minute and for a long time, the gap hovered just below the one-minute mark.

 

Riwal lend Astana a hand while disaster struck for Valgren who punctured out of the lead group. While he chased hard to get back, Bak launched an attack that only Quaade could match.

 

Going into the penultimate lap, the front duo were 45 seconds ahead of the peloton but just before the final lap, the front group, including Valgren, got back together. At that point the gap was still 45 seconds and it was clear the peloton had lost the battle.

 

Bak tried several attacks on the final lap but he never got a gap and so it came down to a sprint. Here Boem beat Agnoli and Mortensen while Valgren rolled across the line near the back of the group to win the race overall ahead of Bak and Boaro.

 

Lutsenko won the points competition while Murphy took the mountains jersey. Valgren was of course the best young rider while Tinkoff-Saxo won the teams classification.

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