Arctic Tour of Norway: Nikias Arndt takes first pro victory on stage three
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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Arctic Tour of Norway: Nikias Arndt takes first pro victory on stage three

by Ben Atkins at 3:21 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Kenny van Hummel retakes the blue jersey with second place time bonus

nikias arndtNikias Arndt (Argos-Shimano) took his first ever professional win as he sprinted to victory in the third stage of the 2013 Arctic Tour of Norway, between Svolvaer and Stokmarknes. The 21-year-old German just managed to throw his front wheel across the line ahead of Dutch Vacansoleil-DCM duo Kenny van Hummel and Barry Markus as they arrived at the finish side by side, with stage one winner van Hummel just getting ahead of his teammate.

“It was really really hard today”, Arndt said after the finish. “We had a plan for the finish but we changed it with 5km to go and we gave everything. My team was unbelievably strong and gave me a perfect lead out. That’s why it was possible to beat Thor Hushovd [BMC Racing] today.

“I got a bit of luck as well,” Arndt explained. “As we crossed the line, we didn’t know who had won. I said that I was in the top three for sure but I had no idea at which place. We had to come back to the line and ask. As the officials told us that I had won, I celebrated with my team-mates.

“This is a fantastic feeling,” he added. “I love racing here, with the view over the sea and sunny weather conditions like this.

“Now I’m asked if I’m the new Marcel Kittel, it’s a good question but I don’t think so,” Arndt conceded. “To sprint against Marcel is something crazy. For now, I’m very proud that I can win a stage at the Arctic Race and maybe I can get a second chance tomorrow. At Argos-Shimano, we have a lot of young guys who can sprint and lead out. We’ll go to the Vuelta without Marcel or John Degenkolb, but it’ll be Jonas [Ahlstrand], Ramon [Sinkeldam] and myself.”

The 201.5km stage saw a seven-man breakaway escape after 35km, made up of Mathias Friedemann (Champion System), Tony Hurel (Europcar), Timofey Kritskiy (Katusha), Fabien Bacquet (BigMat-Auber 93), Sven Erik Bystrøm (Øster Hus-Ridley), Sondre Hurum (Oneco) and Louis Verhelst (Cofidis). Bystrøm took probably the lowest mountain classification sprint in the world, at just 5 metres above sea level at the exit of the Sløverfjord tunnel after 63km, and the group managed to build a maximum lead of 4’35” at the 86km point.

The BMC Racing Team of race leader, Norwegian champion Thor Hushovd, was chasing from behind, however, and the gap was steadily falling from that point.

With 25km to go Bystrøm attacked, taking Hurel, Kritskiy and Verhelst with him but, when he went for a second time, only Kritskiy was able to follow. Together, the two of them were no match for the peloton, however, and were eventually caught with seven kilometres to go.

There was an attack from Edwig Cammaerts (Cofidis) with five kilometres left, which was countered by Paris-Roubaix runner up Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin). Argos-Shimano had taken over the lead of the peloton by now, however, and the Dutchman was soon back in the bunch. Having chased down the final breaks, Arndt’s team led him into the finishing straight and he did just enough to take his first professional win.

Second place for van Hummel earned the Dutch rider six seconds though, and the stage one winner moved back into the overall lead.

“I chose the wheel of Thor Hushovd with the intention to win a second stage”, van Hummel said. “I’m disappointed that I finished only on second place but I’m going to defend the leader’s jersey on the last day. I’m very motivated.

“I love the atmosphere of this race with such a nice weather and beautiful sceneries to watch when we race.”

Result stage 3
1. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Argos-Shimano
2. Kenny van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
3. Barry Markus (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
4. Benoit Drujon (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93
5. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team
6. Jo Kogstad Ringheim (Nor) People4You-UNAAS Cycling
7. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
8. Haavard Blikra (Nor) Øster Hus-Ridley
9. Jon Einar Bergsland (Nor) Oneco Cycling Team
10. Edwin Wilson (Swe) Joker-Merida

Standings after stage 3
1. Kenny van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
2. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team
3. Barry Markus (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
4. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Argos-Shimano
5. Sander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Tony Hurel (Fra) Team Europcar
8. Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha Team
9. Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Katusha Team
10. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Øster Hus-Ridley

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