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“I took matters into my own hands. We did not have riders to use for the chase at the end. It was a long day and we had done a lot. The plan was to bring it back together for a sprint, but we had to change tactics along the...

Photo: Sirotti

TOUR DES FJORDS

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
02.09.2016 @ 23:02 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Reactions from stage 3 of the Tour des Fjords

 

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) made one of the most remarkable comebacks to make it two in a row in his home race Tour des Fjords when he won the hard third stage of the race. Together with Jonas Koch (Verva) and Nick van der Lijke (Roompot), he closed a gap of two minutes to Damiano Caruso, Michael Schär (BMC) and Pieter Weening (Roompot) in less than 10km and finally crushed his five rivals in the sprint to take the victory and move into the race lead.

 

We have gathered a few reactions.

 

Impressive Alexander Kristoff: I had to take matters into my own hands

It was the longest stage in the five-day race with Alexander Kristoff taking up the chase on his own to ensure he was part of the action for the finish. In the end, the Norwegian rider took his second win in as many days, crossing the finish line at the front in Suldalsosen, marking his eleventh win for the 2016 cycling season.

 

”The pack was not really strong enough to catch back the break, so I went to the front to try to keep the speed high. Then on the downhill I had good speed and I saw that I had a little gap so I kept going. Two guys managed to bridge up and they were strong guys, so I was very happy to see the time gap go down. In the sprint I was the strongest, but I had to go from the front so it wasn’t ideal. And even though I was pretty tired from the chase, I was confident that I could win,” said Alexander Kristoff. 

 

“I took matters into my own hands. We did not have riders to use for the chase at the end. It was a long day and we had done a lot. The plan was to bring it back together for a sprint, but we had to change tactics along the way. The front group was strong and I had to try a last, desperate attempt to get back-

 

“I did not quite believe in it. With 15 kilometers to go they had 1.40 and everybody stopped riding in the peloton. I got a gap and others followed.

 

”I was tired when I got there but I thought the others were more tired. In the end I had to do a lot of work, but I controlled it. I did not ride too hard in the last kilometer, even though I was on front. I was on 300 watts and had a bit more to give

 

”Finally I had to do it myself. The gap did not really come down. I thought that maybe they had something left in the end. But they had not. Fortunately, the ActiveJet rider contributed fortunately, so we managed to bridge the gap and in the sprint I felt like I was in control.

 

“It was an absolutely awful day, I think nobody felt good today. There was a lot of stress in the beginning. I had problems with my saddle and a lot of other things happened. We missed a big group at the start and had to chase a lot. Therefore we had few people at the end. Luckily I managed to do it myself.

 

 

Kristoff’s winning time of 5:38.58 (39.119 km/h) on the 221 km day was just ahead of Nick van der Lijke (Roompot-Oranje) and Jonas Koch of VERVA Active Jet.

 

The win and gap to the main field also gave Alexander Kristoff the yellow jersey and the lead in the general classification. With two stages to go, the Team KATUSHA rider leads by 20-seconds to Michael Schar of BMC and van der Lijke. Besides, Kristoff took control over the point classification (blue jersey).

 

”It was a little bit like a classic today. It was a long race and horrible weather conditions. At the end I saw we did not have the power to close the gap to the strong three guys in the front so I made one big attempt to do it myself and I’m happy it worked out in the end. I can’t predict on the GC yet. There are still two more days to go and tomorrow is a very hard day. Maybe if I still have the lead after tomorrow I think I have a good shot,” said Alexander Kristoff.

 

“Tomorrow is another hard day, I spent some energy today. But I think the most dangerous in GC spent a good deal more. They were in front for a long time. In that sense, it may be an advantage for me the next days,

 

“They are good on the climbs and can be dangerous on the next two stages. But they were also in front for 100 kilometers. I was in front for 15. Therefore, I am maybe a little stronger. Tomorrow I hope to stay with the best and not lose any time.

 

- This course is quite hard. Last year we saw that it's tough to win overall. But my form is very good. Therefore I hope to do it this time.”

 

Saturday’s stage 4 is familiar terrain for Alexander Kristoff with the stage beginning in his home town of Stavanger. At 165,6 km, the stage ends in Sandnes and promises to be a difficult day on the bike.

 

”This is my home race but I’m still not to my home city – that will be tomorrow. The last two days of this race are my home training ground and I know every corner,” said Kristoff.

 

Pieter Weening blames Caruso and Schär for missed opportunity in Norway

Pieter Weening (Roompot) finished sixth.

 

“The BMC riders played a little game in the last 20 kilometers. It was very stupid. If only they had continued to ride, we would have been able to do a sprint with three, but now the other riders joined us. Ultimately we ended up with nothing, Weening told TV2 after the stage.

 

“When a rider sits on wheels and says he is completely empty and then attacks five kilometres later , the cooperation is gone.”

 

Michael Schär: Caruso and I wanted to do something extraordinary

BMC Racing Team continued their run of top ten finishes in Norway on Tour des Fjords Stage 3 with Damiano Caruso and Michael Schär finishing fourth and fifth respectively behind stage winner and new race leader, Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha).

 

After 27km of riding, Joey Rosskopf was part of a 19-rider breakaway that had a small advantage over the peloton however it wasn’t until the race reached the slopes of the first climb that a group of seven riders including Caruso and Schär was able to establish a solid lead over the peloton which eventually extended to five minutes.

 

Despite the wet and windy conditions Caruso and Schär were part of a trio of riders who were able to ride out at the front of the race for most of the day.

 

With 25km to go the group was holding on to an advantage of 2 minutes 30 seconds. This forced a change in tactics from the main bunch behind them with three riders, including Kristoff, attacking off the front to join them with 4km to go before heading into a final sprint for the line.

 

Today's gutsy riding from both BMC Racing Team riders sees them move up the General Classification heading into Stage 4 with Schär sitting second, 20 seconds behind Kristoff, and Caruso fifth, 23 seconds back.

 

Michael Schär said:

 

“It was quite an incredible day out there. With the weather we have experienced over the past three stage and being in the big mountains today we didn't know what to expect. With climbs higher than 1100m we wondered whether it might even be snowing but luckily that wasn’t the case.

 

“Damiano and I had a plan to do something extraordinary today, something out of the box rather than a sprint. We know that in a sprint it will always be difficult to beat Kristoff so we attacked early. We knew we still had a long way to go on the stage and our hope of winning was not big at the beginning but when the three of us still had an advantage of two minutes with 20km we thought it might be possible to stage out in front.

 

“With the climbs and the weather today it was not easy out there so in the final 10km we had nothing left, we were just rolling through as fast as we could. Then some fresh guys, like Kristoff, attacked from behind and they closed the gap pretty quickly before we went in for the sprint.

 

“I’m now sitting second on GC which is a great position to be in and we are definitely going to try and do something to move and keep fighting like we have done every day now. Our big advantage here is that we have a strong and powerful team so we will continue to give it everything and try to open up the race as in a race like this that it the only thing we can do.”

 

Nikolai Trussov misses key move in Norway

When a number of splits affected the peloton today after some demanding climbs and some last minute attacks, it was Nikolay Trusov who came across the line as the first Tinkoff rider on yet another wet and miserable day at the Tour Des Fjords. Having climbed two demanding peaks and battled against wind and rain, the Russian rider crossed the line in tenth position in the second group.

 

From the finish, Sport Director, Tristan Hoffman, gave some insight into how the day unfolded for the team.

 

“It was a tough day with rain and a fast race from the start. A small group went before the climb and Lorenzo [Fortunato] jumped across to this group on the uphill, which was good, making it eight guys in front. But this group split on the climb and he was second group, which was caught by the chase.”

 

With the group split approaching the finish and a group of six up the road, it was up to the bunch to fight it out for the remaining places, which saw Nikolay Trusov take tenth position after a hard day, battered by more torrential rain.

 

As the race neared its conclusion, the guys were caught out by a split in the bunch, as Hoffman explained.

 

“Juraj [Sagan] was up there after the climb too, with Nikolay as well. They just missed the move late on and of course it would have been nice to have somebody up there but I'm happy to see Nikolay and Juraj survive the climb as many guys were dropped. It was also a good effort from Lorenzo today, which was nice to see.”

 

Tomorrow’s stage sees a flatter parcours and a much shorter route, but this doesn’t mean racing will be easy. Up until now, the weather has refused to hold off, soaking riders through on very stage so far and the race follows a circuitous route with the first part along Norway’s west coast, where the peloton will be battered by North Sea winds. Hoffman was taking stage 4 as it came – waiting to see how the day panned out.

 

“Tomorrow is more of a steady day - we'll try and go for the break, and if it comes back for a sprint we'll go again with Nikolay.”

 

Frustrated Norwegian talent loses white jersey in Tour des Fjords

August Jensen (Coop) lost the white jersey as he missed the late move.

 

“They attacked pretty fast, and I was boxed in. I fucked it up. It's annoying because I had the legs to follow, he told procycling.no after the stage.

 

“I had good legs, so I was hoping to exploit it better, but it was chaotic. I should have been there when Alex went, but I fucked up there. I could have sprinted well but fucked it up there too. It was stupid, but the shape is at least good.

 

”You must act on instinct, and I failed with my own instinct. It's silly, but I take the positive with me.

 

”It will be tough to get the jersey back.”

 

Novo Nordisk Canadian impresses on tough day in Norway

Team Novo Nordisk rider Charles Planet (FRA) fought hard to finish strong on Friday’s stage 3 of the Tour des Fjords, the longest stage of the 5-day race.

 

Attacks flew from the start, despite more wet conditions, but it wasn’t until the first of the race’s three categorized climbs that a group of seven managed to pull away to form the day’s breakaway.

 

“Today was an epic day,” Planet said, “with strong, non-stop rain. The peloton started to split at the first KOM. I felt a bit better than last few days, and I was comfortable on the slippery descents. But even though I felt comfortable, I lost the contact with the first group on the descent of the 2nd KOM and had to chase for 25km to get back. I lost a lot of energy, but I eventually made it.”

 

With 25km to go, the leaders maintained an advantage of 2:30, and teams began attacking off the front in anticipation of the final sprint.

 

“From then on, it was hilly the whole time, with short a climb on the final, ” Planet said, “which turned out to be pretty a good final for me. We were a small group, and I sprinted for 7th place because six guys arrived, attacking with 5km to go. But I ended up 19th, which is not good, but not bad either. I’m just happy with the fight I gave today, because I went really deep to make this small group at the end. It was a really hard battle.”

 

Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) took the stage win and claimed the yellow jersey, and Planet finished 19th, 46-seconds behind. 

 

Stölting remain in contention, Guldhammer and Kirsch abandon

For Stölting, Christian Mager and Alexander Kamp finished in the first peloton and conserved their good positions in the general classification.

 

A big group of 19 riders including Christian Mager attacked right after the start of the 220 km stage. But Team Katusha didn’t let the group get away, and Mager & co. were reeled in after an hour and 48 km of racing

 

In the final 30 km, Christian Mager contributed to the chase in the peloton, but with 17 km left, Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) increased the pace and took up the pursuit of the three remaining escapees on his own. Jonas Koch (VERVA ActiveJet) and Nick van der Lijke (Roompot – Oranje Peloton) could bridge to the Norwegian, and they caught the front group at the 3 km mark.

 

The peloton with Christian Mager and Alexander Kamp finished 46 seconds later. The two Team Stölting Service Group riders are now placed 12th and 16th overall, respectively.

 

Following his stage 2 crash, Rasmus Guldhammer had to abandon the race today, with Alex Kirsch also not finishing the stage.

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