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“I’m confident ahead of the queen stage tomorrow. I strongly believe that I can win the Arctic Race of Norway.”

Photo: ARN/P.Perreve






15.08.2014 @ 23:02 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Lars Petter Nordhaug got safely through an uneventful stage of the Arctic Race of Norway and so defended his leader's jersey. The local hero is very confident that he will be able to gain time on his rivals in tomorrow's queen stage.


Norway's Lars Petter Nordhaug of the Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM successfully defended the blue-and-orange jersey as overall leader Friday at the 2014 Arctic Tour of Norway.

The 30-year-old from Tonsberg, who won the race's first stage on Thursday, finished in the lead group of riders on the four-day tour's 207km second stage from Honningsvåg to Alta, the City of Northern Lights.

Fellow Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) won the stage in a mass sprint to the finish line ahead of compatriot Thor Hushovd (BMC), Belgian Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen) was third.

Nordhaug continues to hold an overall advantage of 11 seconds over Davide Villella (Cannondale), with Belkin's Steven Kruijswijk in third at 13 seconds and Jonathan Hivert fifth at 20 seconds. Nordhaug is now tied with Kristoff in the race's points competition, as well, with 16 points; and Team Belkin continues to lead the team competition, 1:05 ahead of Team Katusha.


Most of the day, spent battling nasty headwinds across Norway's scenic northern Finnmark province, was animated by a four-man breakaway that reached a one-time advantage over the peloton of more than eight minutes before the teams with big sprinters — Team Katusha for Kristoff and Team Giant-Shimano for Marcel Kittel — joined the Belkin boys at the front to chase it down just 10km before reaching Alta.

"Not a lot happened — a lot of wind at the front," said Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM’s Sports Director Michiel Elijzen. "We expected a sprint, took control the whole day together with Stef Clement at the front and controlled the race."

The Belkin squad narrowly escaped disaster twice on Friday, with Nordhaug taking a minor spill with 64km remaining and Kruijswijk going down just 8km from the finish line.

"Lars Petter fell over another rider who fell in front of him, but nothing serious; he was on the bike straight away," Elijzen said. "Kruijswijk was involved in a crash, too, but he was able to get back to the bunch and did not lose any time."

The Arctic Tour of Norway, in its second year, resumes with Saturday's short but relatively demanding 132km third stage from Alta westward to the race's only true mountaintop finish on Kvænangsfjellet pass at 410 meters above sea level.


"Tomorrow we expect a short and hilly stage — good for Nordhaug and Kruijswijk," Elijzen said. "We expect that’s in our advantage defending the leader's jersey and to take time on other riders."


“It’s nothing”, said the race leader about his crash. “I’m confident ahead of the queen stage tomorrow. I strongly believe that I can win the Arctic Race of Norway.”

The riders then transfer by plane to Tromsø, Northern Norway's largest city, for the race's 165km finale on Sunday.



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