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“Popovych was in the breakaway and that was good, but he was dropped the first time on the circuits, which was not ideal. But that’s how it is. Bauke was quite good today and finished in sixth, which is nice to see."

Photo: Sirotti










24.05.2015 @ 18:17 Posted by Andy Pedersen

The rain forecasted for today pummeled the peloton, making a miserably wet final 175 kilometers at the Tour of Norway. Yaroslav Popovych jumped into an eight-man escape group as Trek Factory Racing threw all their effort into the final stage, hoping to take away a result after a week where they have raced hard but had little to show for their labor.


On the punishing finishing circuit climb an attack from the breakaway shattered the lead eight, leaving three men ahead. Over the finish line with three laps to go Popovych made a valiant effort to rejoin the leaders, but would fall just short.  He eventually was gobbled up by the peloton at the end of the lap.


As the chase drew within 30 seconds of the trio, Andreas Vangstad (Sparebanken) launched out of the peloton on the penultimate climb and set off in pursuit. He successfully made contact one lap later, subsequently attacked again and soloed to the victory, just holding off a decimated peloton that came in 14 seconds later.


Bauke Mollema sprinted to sixth place from a lead group numbering less than 20, the first sparks he’s shown this week and a promising sign for the Dutch climber preparing for his big goal in July.


“Popovych was in the breakaway and that was good, but he was dropped the first time on the circuits, which was not ideal. But that’s how it is. Bauke was quite good today and finished in sixth, which is nice to see,” explained director Kim Andersen.


Fränk Schleck and Gregory Rast were also part of the leading peloton, but with just over three kilometers to go Rast was leading Schleck when he suddenly punctured in a corner. Rast was unable to keep the bike upright, forcing Schleck to brake hard to avoid going down with him.


Andersen explained the crash:


“Rast was pulling for Fränk and he punctured in a turn and he crashed and Fränk had to come to a full stop. Rasty went down in the grass so he was not hurt, and it was impossible for Fränk to get back to the front after that.”


Trek Factory Racing came into the Tour of Norway with high ambitions of a top GC placing and a possible stage result, but after five days of hard racing in cold temperatures they came up empty handed. Although they were expecting to do better, the effort was there Andersen reasoned:


“We just came here after a break, and the level was quite high. Bob [Jungels] made a little mistake yesterday, but he has showed that he is in quite good shape. Fränk and Bauke improved each day, and Rasty is good.


“It’s quite okay; for sure it could have been nice to do a small result but I think the legs were better than the results actually turned out.  We are not specialists for the cold weather – there was nothing to be really, really happy about, but I think we are in a good way after this week.”



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