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TOUR DES FJORDS

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
03.09.2016 @ 23:42 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

One year after his brother’s win in the same stage, Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (Delko) left a disappointing year behind by taking the biggest win of his career in the hard stage 4 of the Tour des Fjords. Having made it back to the front with 1km to go, he attacked with Bjørn Tore Hoem (Joker) and finally beat his companion in the sprint to take the victory. Christian Mager (Stölting) attacked to take third while Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won the sprint for fourth and retained the lead.

 

We have gathered a few reactions.

 

Asbjørn Kragh: I thought we were going to sprint

”I thought that Hoem was going to wait for the sprint. I did not know he was going to attack. But it was smart, it worked,” Kragh told Norwegian TV2.

 

Joker talent close to breakthrough win in Norway

“The goal today was to attack and to anticipate. I felt better and better throughout the day, and I got great help of teammates, Bjorn Tore Hoem told TV2 after the stage.

 

“When I'm so close to victory, it is frustrating, but I am happy with second place. I am here for the GC, so I am happy with second place

 

“I was insanely tired yesterday, so I was unsure of the day today. And in the beginning I felt terrible and got lactic acid with every pedalstroke. But then it just got better and better, and with adrenaline and good legs, everything was okay.”

 

Breathrough performance by Christian Mager in Norway

Christian Mager showed his strength on stage 4 of the Tour des Fjords (2.1). Only a few riders could follow his attacks on the Aspervika climb, and he finished in third place.

 

The biggest difficulty on the finishing circuit was the Aspervika climb. Averaging 8.5% and cresting just 4 km from the finish, the riders had to go up it three times. Alexander Kamp fell victim to a crash just before the second time up the climb and had to abandon, but Christian Mager was in great shape. He attacked and got a gap together with Kristoff and a number of other riders, but they were caught by the rest of the peloton.

 

On the final lap, only Carl Fredrik Hagen (Team Sparebanken Sør) and Floris Gerts (BMC Racing Team) remained from the break, starting the climb with a 20-second advantage. Mager increased the pace again, this time only Kristoff and Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing Team) could hold his wheel. They caught the last two escapees on the flat run-in to the finish, but were themselves caught by nine others. Bjørn Tore Hoem (Team Joker – Byggtorget) and Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (Delko Marseille Provence KTM) attacked immediately, and Mager took up the chase on the last kilometre, but didn’t quite make it to the front. Kragh Andersen won the stage, with Mager finishing third three seconds later. Kristoff defended his GC lead, while Mager is now eighth overall.

 

Sports Director André Steensen was very satisfied: “Mads Pedersen and Michael Reihs protected Christian and Alexander well today. Mads had a puncture in the final, leaving only Michael who did a stellar job. Kamp and Mager were always placed well at the foot of the climb. On the second lap, some riders crashed due to a pothole, also taking down Alexander. He had to abandon due to his injuries, that was unfortunate as the final suited him well. Christian was our only card now, and he raced an amazing final. He attacked twice on the climb, only Kristoff and Caruso could follow the second time. Hoem and Kragh countered right when Mager’s group had been caught from behind, so he couldn’t follow immediately, but he went after them on his own when the others in the group hesitated. The third place is a very good and well-deserved result, Christian rode very strongly the last month. Everybody in the team is happy for him, he’s a great guy who always works hard. We’ll try to get another result tomorrow.”

 

Alexander Kristoff: I had to focus on the GC

Racing came to the home city of Alexander Kristoff on Saturday’s stage 4 of the Tour des Fjords and while the Norwegian sprinter did not try to win the stage, he managed to hold on to the leader’s jersey and hopes to continue to do so.

 

”My team did a good job to protect me. I ended up a little bit isolated, but there were two guys up in front and I knew they were not close to me in the GC, so I could be a little bit more relaxed and let them fight for the win. The guys closest to me on GC were still with me, so in the end it was better to give up the stage and save some energy. Tomorrow is the last stage and it is still in my city so I hope I can win there, but most important is to win the jersey. That is the main target,” said race leader Alexander Kristoff.

 

Kristoff sprinted in for fourth place behind Christian Mager of Stölting Service Group at 3-seconds off the winning time of 4:00.14. 

 

Alexander Kristoff’s smart racing kept him in the lead with no changes at the top of the leader board. After almost 18 hours of racing, Kristoff holds 20-seconds to BMC’s Michael Schär and Nick van der Lijke of Roompot-Oranje Peloton. Kristoff still holds the blue jersey of the point classification.

 

Michael Schär: We have one chance to challenge Kristoff

Tour des Fjords Stage 4 saw BMC Racing Team on the attack again with Floris Gerts riding as part of the day’s breakaway before Damiano Caruso and Michael Schär added to BMC Racing Team’s list of top ten finishes in Norway.

 

Gerts was part of an early 5-rider breakaway that quickly established a substantial advantage over the peloton that they were able to extend to beyond ten minutes after only 30km of racing.

 

The group was holding strong at the front of the race for the majority of the stage and went into the final 70km with their lead hovering around 7 minutes 30 seconds.

 

The final finishing circuit, which included a short, sharp climb, saw the peloton split and the main group of General Classification riders close down the gap to Gerts and the remaining two breakaway riders.

 

The race eventually came down to exciting finale on the home straight with Ashbjørn Anderson (Delko Marseille-Provence) and Bjørn Hoem (Team Joker Byggtorget) launching a late attack inside the final kilometer to take first and second respectively in Sandnes.

 

Caruso and Schär finished with the bunch behind them in sixth and ninth place to maintain their position on the General Classification with only one stage to go. Schär sits second overall, 20 seconds behind Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha), with Caruso in fifth place, 23 seconds back.

 

Michael Schär said:

 

“It was a hectic day but we did very well as a team. Floris did a great job in the breakaway and created the perfect situation for us as it meant we could have a relatively calm day behind Kristoff and Team Katusha. At one point we thought that the peloton was going to let the breakaway go all the way but with time bonuses on the line some of the other teams started to pull really hard at the front. It was not an amusing final finishing circuit as it was lots of ups and down and a few crashes but we once again did well as a team and Damiano made a good attack to try and join me in a podium position. We have another chance to challenge Kristoff tomorrow. The parcours tomorrow is 90 percent set for a sprint finish but there are definitely opportunities for us to take some chances.”

 

Sports director Yvon Ledanois added:

 

“Like yesterday we knew we needed to really make a strong move with the breakaway to try for the stage win and today seemed like the perfect stage for the breakaway to make it. The peloton had other ideas in the end but it was a really strong ride from Floris. The GC is more difficult to challenge for but we are a really strong team and we will try again tomorrow for both the stage win and GC as Schär and Caruso are both looking so strong.”  

 

Tinkoff stagiaire impresses with overall top 10 in Norway

After riding hard in the break, Tinkoff’s Erik Baška was caught shortly before the finish, where stagiaire Lorenzo Fortunato took on the finale and placed eighth – moving up to tenth in the GC ahead of the final day.

 

Starting the day in blazing sunshine, it took some time for a break to stick at the start of the stage, with several riders trying to go away. It wasn’t until Erik Baška tried his chances though that a group managed to escape up the road, the Slovakian rider making his move as part of a group of five. Filled with confidence, Baška surged ahead to take the full points and seconds in the intermediate sprint a little before the big climbs of the day.

 

At the 50km to go point, his group was still riding strong, and saw them sitting comfortably with six minutes’ advantage on the bunch. While the rain had started to fall, it was clear the weather hadn’t slowed the escape. As the race entered its finishing circuit however, the roads were drying out as the sun warmed the course again, and in spite of the break’s best efforts, the chase group was gaining and going for the win. The stagiaire, Lorenzo Fortunato was in this chase group and took eighth spot – just a few seconds after the last of the breakaway group took the podium. With this top ten placing, the young Italian rider finished the day tenth in the GC ahead of the race’s final stage.


Sport Director, Tristan Hoffman, continued to be impressed by the performances of the team at this demanding race.

 

“It was a nice day for us – Erik in the break with five guys was good. They got a big gap but other teams started riding behind, and Erik got dropped. Lorenzo managed to go in the Kristoff group, which was strong, and he came home in the group behind the last breakaway riders.”

 

Hoffman was particularly pleased with Erik’s spirit, getting in the break and pushing hard the whole day.

 

“I’m really happy to see Erik up there getting stuck in - ok, we didn't win, but he gave his all and was up there where you have to be to try for the stage.”

 

The Tour Des Fjords’ final stage sees the race finishing on another undulating course in the same region as today’s stage. The 164km route again skirts the North Sea, but tomorrow on the final stretch, when riders will be feeling the distance and the climbs in their legs. A flat finish suggests the fast men will go for the win, as Hoffman explained from the finish.

 

“Tomorrow looks like it should be a bunch sprint. The chances lean towards this. We will look towards Nikolay [Trusov] again here and try again for a result.”

 

Verva German delivers breakthrough performance in Norway

VERVA ActiveJet Team’s Jonas Koch arrived at the finish line with the main favorites and still sits in fourth in the general classification.

 

“I feel great at this race and to be honest, I did not expect this. I am happy that I can go here with the best and be in fourth place in the general classification. On Sunday, I will go for the podium,” said Koch. 

 

Novo Nordisk climber misses out in Norway

“Today the stage was pretty slow at the start,” Team Novo Nordisk rider David Lozano said. “The yellow jersey let the break go up to 11 minutes in front, so we thought, this can only end with a fast pace and a lot of stress in the bunch!”

 

Team Katusha controlled the pace in the peloton, and the Team Novo Nordisk squad were together with the bunch as the race approached its final circuits. On the two finishing circuits, the peloton began to splinter into several small groups, with Lozano emerging in the lead group.

 

“On the final circuit,” the Spaniard said, “it was a pretty steep climb, and I knew the race was going to split there. But with everyone really tired from racing all week, I made a move to close the gap by myself. But once we hit the climb, I was pretty empty, and it was all I could do to could arrive with the second group. No excuses today, just nothing else left in the legs.”

 

The final kilometer came down to a head-to-head sprint between Ashbjørn Anderson (Delko Marseille-Provence) and Bjørn Hoem (Team Joker Byggtorget) with Anderson edging out Hoem for the win. Lozano finished best for Team Novo Nordisk at 33rd, 22 seconds behind Andersen.

Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team, concludes the 5-day Tour des Fjords tomorrow with a 183.8km final stage from Hinna Park to Stavanger.

 

Talented Norwegian crashes out of contention in Norway

Coop captain August Jensen crashed out of contention

 

“I was on his wheel (Kamp), but when he went down, it was over. Crashes can happen everywhere and this time it happened in the front,” he told Procycling.no.

 

”It's a shame. I will focus on Sunday and try achieve a good result but right now it's frustrating. I can only hope that I won’t be too stiff.

 

“I had good legs today and we had nice control. I was near the front in the second lap.”

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