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"Even if that motivates me, I am a still disappointed with my performance. My results are pretty good, but I expected better. After my victory at the Tour of Austria, I had hoped some switch would click."

Photo: IAM Cycling






14.08.2015 @ 20:44 Posted by Andy Pedersen

The second stage of the Arctic Race of Norway could be summed up in three words: salmon, tanks, and surprise. Well almost. At least, apart from the 500 kilograms of salmon that Jean-Marc Bideau won as a result of being the first rider to summit the final categorized climb for the day. Then of course the military detail of tanks standing to attention as the peloton passed, and the lone tank that shadowed the pack for a few hundred meters along the final circuit, the second day of racing was a scene of what seemed to be tantamount to a brawl. 


Thanks to the extensive and hard work that IAM Cycling and Katusha did to reel in the last escapee. It was Sam Bennett (Bora Argon 18) who grab the stage from under the noses of Federico Zurlo (United Healthcare) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). Sondre Holst Enger came through for IAM Cycling by taking ninth place in the midst of some real argy-barge among the sprinters.


Holst Enger, who is a Norwegian on the Swiss professional team, has lived up to expectations. With two top-10s in two days, and sitting in seventh place on the overall classification, Sondre Holst Enger has vindicated those who trusted in him, despite his young age. 


“Racing in my home country of Norway naturally gives me a bit more punch, I have to be honest,” the 21 year old Holst Enger explained. “I had the chance to see some of my friends and my dad will be coming to see me on the last stage. This will be the first that will have happened to me at a pro race.


"Even if that motivates me, I am a still disappointed with my performance. My results are pretty good, but I expected better. After my victory at the Tour of Austria, I had hoped some switch would click.


"But then again, I have to be realistic. There are a lot of very good sprinters here, and I am still missing a little bit of racing in my legs, and certainly a little training. I had a small break after Austria because I had a little injury that I wanted to let heal properly. So I am not really at my best here, that’s for sure.


"That thought is reassuring for the future because I am going to progress; I realize already that the little climbs do not hinder my sprint, so that’s a positive.”  


Even if IAM Cycling does not have the victor’s bouquet at the dinner table tonight, directeur sportif Kjell Carlström is not prepared to pull the alarm cord, and remains confident for the coming stages. 


“When one is beaten by those stronger, than it must be admitted,” Carlström rationalized. “Today, it was difficult to win. Many people wanted to do the sprint, and it was just too complicated for us. Those last five kilometers were particularly nervous. Despite that, I am happy with the work that Sondre did.


"Now we will focus on the upcoming stages, including Saturday’s stage that looks like it will be more difficult than expected. For the mountains, we can use two different cards [Wyss and Frank], and we will refine our tactics over the course of the race. In any case, it promises to be very interesting.”



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