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With an all-out attack on the overall victory, Boasson Hagen rode to a solo victory in the final stage of the Tour of Norway; Weening limited his losses to take the overall win, with Boasson Hagen and Enger rounding out the podium

Photo: Sirotti

EDVALD BOASSON HAGEN

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NTT PRO CYCLING TEAM

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PIETER WEENING

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ROOMPOT-CHARLES

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SONDRE HOLST ENGER

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TOUR OF NORWAY

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22.05.2016 @ 18:56 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) made an all-out attack in a final attempt to take the overall victory on the final stage of the Tour of Norway. The Norwegian held off the peloton which was led to the finish by Sondre Holst Enger (Norway) and August Jensen (Coop) but Pieter Weening (Roompot) limited his losses to take the final win. Boasson Hagen and Enger made it two Norwegian riders on the podium.

 

After a frustrating start to the race, Edvald Boasson Hagen finally got his elusive stage win yesterday. However, he had arrived at his home race with only one goal – to win the race for a third time – and so he was not content with his third place as he headed into the final stage.

 

The mostly flat course and it’s uphill finishing straight made it a great opportunity for powerful sprinters like Boasson Hagen and most would have expected the Norwegian champion to focus fully on another stage win. However, the Dimension Data captain was determined to try to try to take back the 43 seconds he needed to dispose Pieter Weening (Roompot) from his throne and so he turned an expected sprint stage into a very exciting battle for the overall win.

 

Boasson Hagen hit out with 7km to go when the peloton descended from a late climb. Despite Weening’s Roompot team chasing at full gas, the Norwegian managed to open a 20-second advantage and it briefly looked like he could potentially take it all.

 

In the end, however, the peloton prepared for the sprint and so he lost a lot of time. However, he proved his class by holding off the bunch by six seconds to make it two stage wins in a row and move into second overall, leapfrogging a frustrated Sondre Holst Enger who won the sprint for second and so took his third second place of the race and his fourth spot on the podium.

 

After yesterday’s tough stage, the final stage was much easier and brought the riders over 163.4km from Drøbak to Sarpsborg along mostly flat roads that only included an early category 3 climb. The stage ended with two laps of a 13.5km finishing circuit that had a small category 3 climb (1km, 5.7%) just 7.3km from the line. From there, it was a downhill run to the final 800m which were uphill at 3.5-4%.

 

Greg Henderson (Lotto Soudal), Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Roland Thalmann (Roth) were absent as the peloton rolled out for the neutral ride under a rainy sky. With a categorized climb coming after just 8.6km, many riders were keen to go for the points and so things were kept together by the Coop team in the first part of the stage. Mads Pedersen (Stölting) secured the mountains jersey by holding off Krister Hagen (Sparebanken), his teammate Fabian Wegmann and Pierpaolo De Negri (Nippo-Vini Fantini) in the KOM sprint.

 

Three riders tried to get clear after the sprint but they had no luck, just like the many other riders who gave it a try in the first part of the stage. The fast pace was too much for Kazushige Kuboki (Nippo) who abandoned the race after having been dropped and Daniel Hoelgaard (Norway) also left the race.

 

A crash involving riders from Drapac and Joker created some confusion before Lluis Mas (Caja Rural) and Matthias Krizek (Roth) managed to escape after 27km of racing. Fredrik Galta (Delko), Hagen, Andreas Vangstad (Sparebanken) and Richard Larsen (Tre Berg) took off in pursuit and they made the junction when the gap had gone out to two minutes as the peloton took a breather. Jonas Abrahamsen (Ringeriks) also tried to make it across but he never made the junction.

 

Vangstand was a GC threat so there was no cooperation in the break which was held under control as the gap hovered at around. 1.30. Hence, Mas and Krizek attacked again and quickly put 20 seconds into their former companions.

 

Mas led Krizek across the line in the first intermediate sprint while Hagen was first from the chase group. The quartet sat up and was brought back at a time when the gap had gone out to 2.15.

 

Trond Trondsen (Sparebanken) tried to attack and put 20 seconds into the peloton before he decided that it was a suicidal move. Meanwhile, the gap went out to 2.49 at the 65km mark.

 

Roompot hit the front with Andre Looij and Antwan Tolhoek but they were not chasing yet, allowing the gap to grow to 5.15 as they entered the final 80km. It even reached 6 minutes ten kilometres later and there was still no help for the Dutch team.

 

With 60km to go, the gap was still 5.50 and this was the signal for the sprint teams to come to the fore. Adrien Niyonshuti (Dimenion Data), Steven Lammertink (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Tobias Foss (Norway) started to work with the two Roompot riders and this had a big effect as the gap started to come down.

 

Mas led Krizek across the line in the second intermediate sprint before Dimension Data did a full lead-out for Boasson Hagen who picked up a single bonus second by taking third. As a consequence, the gap was down to 4.50 as the peloton entered the final 50km.

 

Lammertink, Foss, Niyonshuti, Looij and Tolhoek kept riding on the front and brought the gap down to 3.55 with 35km to go where it again started to rain. The two Dutchmen now stopped their work and left it to the sprint teams to control things.

 

While Simone Antonini (Wanty) left the race, Mas nearly crashed on the wet roads but he managed to stay upright. The group entered the final 30km with an advantage of 3 minutes.

 

Foss briefly escaped from the peloton in an unintended move but soon waited for the peloton where he continued his work. At the first passage of the line with 27km to go, the gap was down to 2.20 and the situation was clearly under control.

 

LottoNL-Jumbo added more firepower to the chase as Victor Campenaerts started to work with Lammertink, Foss and Niyonshuti. As they hit the late climb for the first time with 20km to go, the gap was down to just 1.10.

 

Adrian Gjølberg (FixIT) attacked on the ascent and so took third place in the KOM sprint which was won by Mas, with Campenaerts taking the final point on offer. He stayed clear for four kilometres but with 16km to go, he was back in the fold.

 

Niyonshuti had ended his work on the climb and it was Lammertink, Foss and Campenaerts who led the peloton across the line for the penultimate time, 53 seconds behind the leaders. Joker took over the pace-setting with Anders Skaarseth for a brief moment before Foss led the group onto the climb for the final time.

 

The hard fight for position reduced the gap to less than 10 seconds and the two escapees were brought back as first Sven Erik Bystrøm and then Odd Christian Eiking (Norway) tried to make the race hard by going full gas up the ascent. Boasson Hagen was sitting in second behind Eiking as they reached the top, followed by Enger and Weening.

 

That’s where Boasson Hagen made his move. The Norwegian attacked hard on the descent and Weening was not in a position to react immediately. The Dutchman took off in lone pursuit but failed to bridge the gap and so waited for the peloton.

 

Roompot started to chase hard with Maurits Lammertink and Huub Duijn but Boasson Hagen was gaining ground. Stölting also did a massive amount of work with Linus Gerdemann but as they entered the final 3km, Boasson Hagen was 16 seconds ahead.

 

When Duijn and Lammertink blew up, Weening had to do the chase work himself but the gap had gone out to 20 seconds when the Norwegian champion passed the flamme. However, as Bora-Argon 18 started to prepare the sprint, he lost ground but he managed to hold on to take an impressive solo win. Enger beat August Jensen in the sprint for second 6 seconds later.

 

The result allowed Boasson Hagen to move into second in the overall standings, 23 seconds behind Weening. Enger was third, 10 seconds further adrift but could console himself with the fact that his consistency saw him win the points jersey. Pedersen was the best climber, Eiking the best young rider and the Norwegian national team won the teams classification.

 

With the Tour of Norway done and dusted, there is a long break on the national calendar. The Tour des Fjords has been moved from late May to August so the next major event in the country is the Arctic Race of Norway in the first half of that month.

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