Nordhaug adds firepower to Sky's Ardennes team
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Nordhaug adds firepower to Sky's Ardennes team

by Samuel Morrison at 8:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne
 

Thomas Löfkvist led up the Mur de Huy for Team Sky at the Flèche Wallonne yesterday in Belgium, but behind him was one of the team's lesser-known riders: Lars Petter Nordhaug.

Nordhaug came to the Ardennes Classics after helping team-mate Russel Downing win a stage at the Critérium International. He rode strongly at Amstel Gold Sunday and continued to do so at Flèche Wallonne, marking the moves over the second of three ascents of the Mur de Huy.

"Lars Petter is from Norway, he is 25 years old, he won a stage in the Tour of Ireland last year. Edvald [Boasson Hagen] and Kurt [Arvesen] recommended him to us. They told us he has a lot of talent and is a strong rider. He is proving them right," team principal, David Brailsford, explained on the team's website.

"He's got a lot of head room, this is his first year at this level and he has a long way to go ahead of him."

"I rode for Joker-Bianchi last year and I am new to the ProTour. I have a mountain biking background," Nordhaug said.

Nordhaug turned professional at the age of 20 and developed with Norway's Bianchi team, winning the national road title in 2006 ahead of Boasson Hagen. In addition to his stage at the Tour of Ireland last year, he also finished second overall to Downing, who also joined Sky this year.

Joining Sky gave Nordhaug his first crack at the big races.

"I had always dreamt about racing the Ardennes Classics when I was an amateur and so for me it is a big bonus to be here with the team. Now I know what the races are about. I am happy to have performed so well, but above all helping my team-mates."

World Champion Cadel Evans won the race in a duel with Alberto Contador, and Nordhaug, in his first time to race Flèche Wallonne, closed the day in 29th.

"I was a bit surprised I could sit there in the final and do so well, but I lacked a little bit of power in the end. It was steep climb, but little too long. It was every man for himself and just about getting to the top.

"My motivation was just the dream be riding in the final next to such big names. I hoped for a top ten or top 15 because I was feeling good on the previous times up, but I lacked some speed in the end."

Nordhaug's motivation will carry him on through Liège-Bastogne-Liège Sunday, supporting Löfkvist and maybe having a chance of his own.

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