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“To win the Arctic Race of Norway is a very important step in my career. I’ve had to deal with injuries in the past two years but coming back and winning is stepping stone in my career."

Photo: Belkin Pro Cycling Team








17.08.2014 @ 23:31 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Steven Kruijswijk that he is back to his best after his many injuries when he won the Arctic Race of Norway overall as the culmination of an excellent Belkin performance. Having taken his first victory in a stage race, the Dutchman regarded the victory as a stepping stone in his career.


Steven Kruijswijk of the Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM took the greatest victory of his career on Sunday, winning the 2014 Arctic Race of Norway.

The 27-year-old Dutchman finished the four-day stage race just 4 seconds ahead of Norway's Alexander Kristoff of Katusha and 18 seconds ahead of his Norwegian Belkin teammate, Lars Petter Nordhaug, who rounded out the final podium.

"I am really happy. I’d never expected this in advance to win this race. It’s really great," Kruijswijk said. "It’s nice to give something back after the renewal of my contract with the team.


“To win the Arctic Race of Norway is a very important step in my career. I’ve had to deal with injuries in the past two years but coming back and winning is stepping stone in my career.


"I’ll bring great memories back at home, not only because of winning but also because it’s special to race so far north, including at the North Cape. The race was very well organized and the course suited me. A lot of riders were happy with the event.”

From the beginning, this second Arctic Tour was a battle between two of the five Pro Tour teams in the race, Belkin and Katusha — the former winning the first stage and taking the overall lead for good with Nordhaug and Kruijswijk, the latter winning stages two and four with an on-form Alexander Kristoff and stage three with Slovakian Simon Spilak.

Kristoff took the fourth and final, 165km stage in a dramatic finale on the streets Tromsø, overhauling Norway's late-attacking cycling hero Thor Hushovd of BMC at the finish line. Third place on the stage went to Sam Bennett of Team NetAPP-Endura, who led in the rest of a strung-out field that included the hard-charging Kruijswijk and Nordhaug.

Kruijswijk — who'd come close to an overall win at the 2011 Tour de Suisse, placing third, and who placed 15th overall at this year's Tour de France — assumed Nordhaug's blue-and-orange Arctic Tour leader's jersey on the race's third day. The Flying Dutchman placed second to Spilak on the final climb to the finish line atop the tour's toughest ascent to Kvænangsfjellet pass on Saturday; from there, it was just a matter of controlling the bunch-sprint-minded peloton in Tromsø today.

It was obvious, as Nordhaug said on worldwide television after his stage victory on Thursday, that Belkin was in the driver's seat of the overall classification. "We're the strongest team here," Nordhaug said. The Belkin boys won the race's team classification, as well, 1:14 ahead of the German Team NetApp – Endura squad.

"We were able to control most of the race. It was a great job by Stef Clement, Jonathan Hivert and Nick van der Lijke. Unfortunately, we lost David Tanner, who had to abandon on the first day," said Belkin Pro Cycling Team Director Michiel Elijzen. "It was a tough victory, but we made it. We knew Kristoff would take some bonus seconds today; and it was close, but you only need one second to win."

"It was a real team effort," added Kruijswijk. "From the beginning of the week, we took initiative and carried the race. Today, again, we were able to keep the leader's jersey. It was difficult to keep the pace high — because we were missing one man — but we managed to stay within time on Kristoff."



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