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”I had control. I know that Halvorsen is fast and he was close to me at Nationals but he was not as close today. I'm happy.”

Photo: Tour des Fjords


05.09.2016 @ 00:05 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) finished off a dominant performance at the Tour des Fjords in the perfect fashion as he won his home stage to Stavanger on the final day. Having made it into a 14-rider group on the final climb, he was given an excellent lead-out by Michael Mørkøv and the pair made it a 1-2 for Katusha, with Kristoff Halvorsen (Joker) taking third. Kristoff took the overall win for the second time with a 30-second advantage over Michael Schär (BMC) and Nick van der Lijke (Roompot).


We have gathered a few reactions.


Alexander Kristoff: I was in control

It was a successful 2016 Tour des Fjords for Alexander Kristoff and Team Katusha. Winning three of five stages, the general classification and the points jersey were the culmination of dedicated work throughout the week.


“We almost passed by house today and I know all of the roads in this area. My teammates did everything I wanted and did an amazing job, especially Anton Vorobyev and Dmitriy Kozonchuk who were pulling all day. In the end Michael Mørkøv and I continued on, too. Michael did a perfect lead out and it’s good to see him in such great shape again. All this week we worked so hard for this and I’m just really happy right now,”  said Alexander Kristoff, who became the most winning rider of the season with 13 victories so far.


”I had control. I know that Halvorsen is fast and he was close to me at Nationals but he was not as close today. I'm happy.”


 The final stage on Sunday was a straight up sprint with a perfect lead out from teammate Michael Mørkøv - so perfect in fact that behind winner Alexander Kristoff was Mørkøv for second place. Third place went to Kristoffer Halvorsen of Team Joker-Byggtorget, all on the same time of 3:47.01 for the 166 km stage from Hinna Park to Kristoff’s city of Stavanger.


“We can leave Norway really happy and proud for our six riders. They all did a fantastic job. From our winner Kristoff to the lead out guys, to the workers like Anton Vorobyev and Dima Kozonchuk, it was a really, really great week. We won three stages, the GC and the points jersey. Some of our adversaries were very strong and they were very well prepared, as were the Scandinavian teams who are always very motivated in this race. But on the long third stage with the rain, two climbs in the middle and then the impressive last 15 km with Alex, that was the key point. Today it’s nice and sunny, so to win on home roads with a nice lead out and second place for Mørkøv is very nice for the boys,” said sports director Torsten Schmidt.


Kristoff won the general classification by 30-seconds to Michael Schar (BMC) and Nick van der Lijk of Roompot-Oranje Peloton. With today’s successes Team Katusha reached the number of 25 victories in the season.


Michael Schär pleased to capitalize on rare chance to race as leader

Michael Schär capped off five days of racing at Tour des Fjords by finishing second on the General Classification and sixth place on stage 5.


Schär, who is one of BMC Racing Team’s key domestiques, moved into second place after stage 3 and managed to hold his podium place, as did Damiano Caruso who finished in fifth place overall.


Despite having only five riders left in the race, BMC Racing Team worked hard to keep Schär, who was sitting 20 seconds behind eventual race winner Alexander Kristoff, on the podium on stage 5.


Schär and Caruso were part of a 14-rider move that went played out in the final 10km and built a gap of 30 seconds on the peloton, which they managed to hold to the line. Kristoff took the stage win in the sprint and Schär and Caruso crossed the line in sixth and seventh place respectively.


Michael Schär said:


“I’m simply very thankful for the work that the guys did for me in the last two days. Normally I’m never on this side of the job. It’s the first time that I see that the teamwork really makes the leader stronger. It gives me confidence and the race was also much easier. I only had to do the finale as the rest was done by Floris Gerts and Fabian Lienhard and Joey Rosskopf. They did so much work the whole day by keeping me out of the wind, and then in the finale I had Damiano Caruso who pulled for 10km. The other guys have eight riders for that so it’s cool to see the other side because sometimes I do my job and I wonder if our leaders really see or feel that it is easier for them to ride a bike, and today I felt that.


“My form is good as I was training very hard after the Tour de France. I wanted to have a good fall, not just letting it go, and I was motivated. And now with this result it’s extra motivation to help Greg Van Avermaet at the races in Quebec and Montreal and fall back into my normal role.”


Yvon Ledanois, Sports Director, added:


“For Michael Schär this is a great result. This is a guy who does his job as a domestique every year, always working for the leaders. I’m really happy for him. I talked to him before the stage and we agreed that it was an important result for him and that we would do everything possible to keep him on the podium. Today we decided not to have anyone in the breakaway and work for the finale with Michi. All of the guys stayed around him and Damiano Caruso worked hard to put him in a good position for the sprint finale. Every day we have been trying with guys in the breakaway, so to have Michi in second and Damiano in fifth is a nice way to finish the race. All of the guys were really strong and worked really well, especially given we only had five riders after Alessandro De Marchi had to stop racing.”


Breakthrough result for Nick van der Lijke in Norway

With a handful of places of honor, the white youth jersey, third position in the final GC for Nick van der One and victory in the teams classification, Roompot - Orange Peloton look back on a very successful Tour des Fjords. 


The excellent performance of the team started on Wednesday.  Jesper Asselman managed to make good use of a confusing situation in the final. When the peloton was sent the wrong way, Asselman was second. Also Sjoerd van Ginneken (7th) scored a place of honor here.


The young Dutchman was not so lucky in the second stage. Van Ginneken was involved in a crash, but saw Tim Kerkhof make an attack. In the final kilometers towards Odda the native of Oss managed to stay ahead of the chasing peloton until 800 meters before the finish line. Kristoff won and Van der Lihje finished seventh.


In the queen stage, van der Lijke was with Van Ginneken and Pieter Weening in a leading group. With a second place, he laid the foundations for a good result in the final standings. Weening finished sixth.


Today there were again places of honor for Weening and Van der Lijke  the leading group of fourteen, Van der Lijke (10th) and Weening (14th) were there for the team as was Huub Duijn (12th).


"It was really nice to be at the start with such a strong team," commented the winner of the white jersey. "It was a tough final stage, especially on the narrow climb in the final. It fell apart, but because we were there with three riders, we knew how to stay up front." 


The strong performance delivered Roompot - Orange Peloton first victory in the teams classification of an international stage race.


Kristoffer Halvorsen confirms potential on final day at Tour des Fjords

“I lost the sprint. It is so miserable,” Kristoffer Halvorsen (Joker) told after his third place.


“I know there is a step up to the top. The final circuit round on the final stage here in Fjords was harder than the final laps of the Arctic Race, so I'm quite happy to survive so well, even though the field was slightly stronger in the Arctic Race.


“In addition, Kristoff was in both races, and he has not been in better shape this year than he is now. What he has done here is just crazy.


“My form won’t go down now. It just gets better towards the Worlds. I have trained really well this summer.”

“He survived the climb well and was very strong today. He's probably disappointed not to do better, he has a winning mentality,” his teammate Bjørn Tore Hoem who was seventh overall said.


Verva-ActiveJet talent close to the podium in Norway

Jonas Koch from Team VERVA ActiveJet took fourth place on the final stage of the Tour des Fjords and sealed his fourth place in the overall standings. 


”I thank the whole team for what they did for me in this race. I'm happy with what I managed to achieve here, but I was hoping for a place on the podium in the last stage, as it would give second place in the general classification. Despite this, I'm happy, it's a great result ,” said Koch. 


Another great performance by Nikolay Trusov in Norway

Tinkoff rounded out the five-day Tour des Fjords in Norway with a fifth place for Nikolay Trusov on the final, 183.8km stage from Hinna Park to Stavanger. After getting into a late split on the final climb of the finish circuits, Trusov was again in the mix for a stage win and moved himself up into the top 10 overall.


“There was a strong break in the final with Trusov up there, but unfortunately not Lorenzo Fortunato,” explained Sport Director Tristan Hoffman, relating to Fortunato’s 10th place on GC going into the final stage. “The break went on the climb of around 1km on the final lap, and narrow roads and lots of corners helped the break get clear. Nikolay did another good finish to add to his third place earlier on.”


On the last ascent of the so-called Pigs Hill, 14 riders pulled clear including Nikolay Trusov. These 14 pressed on and held off the chasing peloton in the final kilometres to sprint out the stage victory, with Trusov finishing fifth. With the time gained, Trusov also jumped into the top 10 on GC, moving up to ninth, as Fortunato dropped from 10th to 14th.


Hoffman continued:


“Looking back at the race, we have been competing every day at the front, and the guys have worked well together. It was good to see Pawel Poljanski back racing after two months out, and he was getting better each day. The two young guys also showed well, stepping up again to this level, with Lorenzo up there on GC too. Nikolay also got two top fives which is good for his confidence at this point late in the season. The sun finally came out for today’s stage too which was a nice way to finish the race, both for the riders and fans out supporting – a nice way to finish a good race.”


Stölting animates tough finale at Tour des Fjorda

On the fifth and final stage of the Tour des Fjords (2.1) Team Stölting Service Group showed another good performance. The three remaining riders took charge in the final and brought about the selection of the day on the Sørmarksbakken. Christian Mager finished the stage in 8th place and also took 8th place overall.



Before the last ascent, Michael Reihs, Mads Pedersen and Christian Mager came to the fore. They hit the Sørmarksbakken at the very front, and their high pace opened gaps in the peloton.


Mager was in a group of 14 after the climb; he attacked on the run-in to the finish, but couldn’t get away. Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) won stage and general classification. Mager came in as 8th on the stage and also finishes the Tour des Fjords in 8th place overall.


“We were down to three riders, but did a very good race,” said Sports Director André Steensen after the stage. “I had expected BMC or Roompot to try to attack Kristoff, but they didn’t do anything. So we took things into our own hands. Michael Reihs took the lead at the foot of the hill and rode a high pace on the first part. Then Mads took over and really put on the pressure, when he pulled off, only some 30 riders were left in the peloton. Christian Mager attacked over the top of the climb; they were three to four riders who had a small gap at the top, but the group grew to fourteen in the end. Christian tried to get away, but Kristoff was too strong and also had Mørkøv to support him, so the fourteen reached the finish together. It was a great team effort, and it’s nice to see us not just being at the race, but taking up the gauntlet and making the race. Michael and Mads gave everything for Christian.”


IAM finish with one just one rider after great start at Tour des Fjords

Of the six riders to start the 2016 Tour des Fjords for IA, only Marcel Aregger managed to go all the way in spite of the many difficulties on the road between Bergen and Stavanger. After Stef Clement and Roger Kluge were forced to abandon the race on Friday, Leigh Howard (sore knee) and Matthias Brändle both had to pull the plug before the finish of the race in Stavanger.


“I was the last of the Mohicans for IAM Cycling. In fact, we used up a lot of energy and reserves in those first two stages to win the stage and then keep the overall leader’s jersey. Five guys riding for the leader proved not an easy task,” he said.


“I am satisfied with my condition. The legs responded well in spite of all the work we had to do. And then to have Alexander Kristoff praise you in person after the finish on behalf of all the work that IAM Cycling did at the head of the race, it does make you feel good. But I am not even certain I will be continuing to race next season since I still don’t have a contract with another team.”


Sports director Kjell Carlström added:


“With a stage win and a 2nd place for another stage, and then also defending the leader’s jersey through two stages, we can say, in my opinion, that we fulfilled half of our goals for the Tour des Fjords.”



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