Arctic Tour of Norway: Thor Hushovd sprints into the lead of his own race
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Friday, August 9, 2013

Arctic Tour of Norway: Thor Hushovd sprints into the lead of his own race

by Ben Atkins at 3:24 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Norwegian champion wins stage two in a big bunch gallop

thor hushovdThor Hushovd (BMC Racing) continued his recent winning streak with a sprint victory in the second stage of the 2013 Arctic Tour of Norway, which began and ended in Svolvær. The Norwegian champion was brought into the finishing straight by his teammates at the end of the picturesque 156.5km stage, launched to the line with 200 metres to go, and finished more than a length clear of second place Tom Van Asbroeck (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), with Marco Haller (Katusha) third.

Time bonuses on the line meant that Hushovd took the overall lead of the race to which he is the ambassador.

“I was very determined to win today”, said Hushovd. “It means a lot to me to be a winner at a race that I have supported a lot from the start. This is the best bike race I’ve ever taken part in.

“Yesterday I missed out because of the positioning but I felt strong today,” the Norwegian champion continued. “The final sprint was a bit of a chaos but I got an excellent lead out by Adam Blythe. When I got out of his wheel and I launched my sprint with 200 metres to go, I got the feeling of being unbeatable. In fact, nobody managed to pass me. This is fantastic. The support of the people here in the north of Norway is even bigger than I expected. The route today showed how beautiful this place is. It couldn’t be a better outcome for me. Now I hope to be able to keep the leader’s jersey till the end.”

The break of the day came from Russell Downing (NetApp-Endura), Sander Helven (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Edwin Wilson (Joker-Merida), Swedish champion Michael Olsson (People4you-Unaas Cycling), Max Emil Korner (Ringeriks-Kraft) and local rider August Jensen (Øster Hus-Ridley), who escaped after 20km. The six riders were kept under control by the Vacansoleil-DCM team of stage one winner Kenny van Hummel, however, and were able to get a maximum of just 2’40” ahead by the midpoint of the stage.

The gap steadily came down throughout the rest of the stage until, with 25km to go, the six riders led by just 40 seconds; with 15km left the gap was down to just 15 seconds, and Downing, Olsson and Wilson left the others behind.

Meanwhile, in the peloton, a big crash - reportedly involving a camera moto - with 14km to go saw most of the Europcar team come down, along with mountains jersey Lars Petter Nordhaug (Belkin) and Ramon Sinkeldam (Argos-Shimano). This had little effect on the speed at the front, however, and - despite Downing’s refusal to give up, the break was over with seven kilometres to go.

There were then several escape attempts, notably from Amund Jansen (Plussbank), who jumped away immediately after the breakaway was caught, and Paul Martens (Belkin), who went with five kilometres left. The speed of the peloton by now, as it was led by BMC Racing, meant that nobody was able to get a decisive gap, however, and the race was all together as it entered the final three kilometres.

Katusha tried to muscle BMC Racing off the front as the finish approached, but Adam Blythe put in a huge effort to string it out one last time and pulled clear at the front. Haller tried to out-jump Hushovd, but the Norwegian champion kicked with 200 metres to go and was lengths clear by the time he hit the line.

Result stage 2
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team
2. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
3. Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha Team
4. Kenny van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
5. Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) Team Plussbank
6. Jetse Bol (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling
7. Yannis Yssad (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93
8. Louis Verhelst (Bel) Cofidis, solutions credits
9. Ralf Matzka (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura
10. Tony Hurel (Fra) Team Europcar

Standings after stage 2
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team
2. Kenny van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM @ 3s
3. Sander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise @ 4s
4. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise @ 7s
5. Barry Markus (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Katusha Team @ 9s
7. Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha Team
8. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling @ 10s
9. Matthias Friedemann (Ger) Champion System @ 11s
10. Kevin Van Melsen (Bel)


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