Arctic Tour of Norway: Final stage win nets Thor Hushovd the overall victory
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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Arctic Tour of Norway: Final stage win nets Thor Hushovd the overall victory

by Ben Atkins at 11:30 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Norwegian champion beats Paul Martens in a tight sprint to secure his home race

thor hushovdA second win for Thor Hushovd (BMC Racing) in the 2013 Arctic Tour of Norway, in the fourth and final stage between Sortland and Harstad, was enough to secure overall victory for the Norwegian champion. Hushovd, who was the ambassador for the inaugural edition of the race, just managed to beat Paul Martens (Belkin) as the pair of them lunged for the line at the end of the uphill finishing straight, with the previous day’s winner, Nikias Arndt (Argos-Shimano), third.

The time bonus on the line, added to one taken at an earlier intermediate sprint, was enough for Hushovd to depose overnight leader Kenny van Hummel (Vacansoleil-DCM) and give the race a popular overall winner.

“Well, that was deep,” said Hushovd referring to the effort that he had made to win the sprint. “Having not won the last intermediate sprint, I had to gain time over Van Hummel. Winning the stage was the best way to make it.

“Before coming to the Arctic Race of Norway, I said I wanted to win a stage and the overall, so I feel that it is mission accomplished now,” he continued. “It’s massive but it’s been hard. I was encouraged so much by the public that I couldn’t let them down. I had to win for all these people who came and support us, not only myself. I’m proud of what I’ve done but I’m even prouder of what my country has done for cycling this week. The support alongside the road has been incredibly fantastic, as well as the success of the race on TV.

“For Norwegians, this is the small Tour de France and they want it to look the same with the same enthusiasm. I don’t know if I’ll be the race ambassador for ever but for sure, the race has a great future.”

After a relatively quiet start, the 155km stage was subject to numerous attacks, with Edwig Cammaerts (Cofidis), Stijn Neirynck (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Gilles Devillers (Crelan-Euphony), Zak Bell (Champion System) and Filip Eidsheim (Øster Hus-Ridley) getting away at the halfway point.

The quintet was 3’30” ahead of the peloton after 88km, but were steadily pulled back by the peloton as it approached the five 6.3km finishing circuits. The group was still clear as they crossed the line for the first time but, with the peloton at little more than a minute and a half behind, Bell attacked alone. The Canadian managed to stay away for much of the first lap, but was caught before he could reach the finish line.

Shortly afterwards, another group got clear, with Jetse Bol (Belkin), Zico Waeytens (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Baptiste Planckaert (Crelan-Euphony) and Reidar Borgersen (Joker-Merida). As Bell had done before, Bol attacked and tried to get away alone, but was caught just before the intermediate sprint that came at the end of the third lap.

Tony Hurel (Europcar) beat Hushovd and Arndt to the line to take the three bonus seconds, but two for Hushovd meant that he was now just one second behind van Hummel in the general classification.

With eight kilometres to go Tobias Ludvigsson (Argos-Shimano), Jan Ghysselinck (Cofidis) and Sondre Enger (Plussbank) escaped but, into the final lap, Vacansoleil-DCM hit the front and chased them down. The trio was caught with just under 2.5km left, whereupon Europcar, NetApp-Endura and Argos-Shimano all began to fight over the head of the peloton.

It was Belkin that led into the finishing straight, but Hushovd just managed to throw his wheel ahead of Martens’ as the two of them hit the line.

Result stage 4
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team
2. Paul Martens (Ger) Belkin Pro Cycling
3. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Argos-Shimano
4. Russell Downing (GBr) Team NetApp-Endura
5. Kenny van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Tony Hurel (Fra) Team Europcar
7. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony @ 3s
8. Magnus Borreson (Nor) Oneco Cycling Team
9. Bryan Nauleau (Fra) Team Europcar @ 6s
10. Mathieu Drujon (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93 @ 8s

Final overall standings
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team
2. Kenny van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM @ 9s
3. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Argos-Shimano @ 10s
4. Tony Hurel (Fra) Team Europcar @ 16s
5. Paul Martens (Ger) Belkin Pro Cycling @ 19s
6. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise @ 26s
7. Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha Team @ 27s
8. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony @ 28s
9. Magnus Borreson (Nor) Oneco Cycling Team
10. Barry Markus (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM @ 30s

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