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"I had confidence all the way and I did not hesitate at all. It was a fantastic day. It was a good start for the race and today it was just amazing. From start to finish there were huge crowds."

Photo: A.S.O.

LARS PETTER NORDHAUG

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03.05.2015 @ 21:24 Posted by Andy Pedersen

The Norwegian was surrounded by his team-mates across a tough and constantly undulating final stage to win the three-day race by 11 seconds. Setting a tempo for much of the 167-kilometre test, Team Sky kept the pace high enough to deter any race-altering attacks and Nordhaug came home a comfortable sixth at the finish in Leeds to be sure of the blue jersey.

 

Ben Hermans (BMC Racing) chipped clear on the final run-in to pull off a nine-second stage win in Roundhay Park, but with Philip Deignan and David Lopez on hand to control the final kilometres there were no issues for Nordhaug.

 

Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing) and Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) rounded out the overall podium, both 11 seconds back, while Deignan held on for a fine fifth overall, 24 seconds behind his team-mate. Nordhaug also wrapped up the points jersey, with Team Sky securing the team classification for good measure.

 

"For me it wasn't so difficult but for my team-mates they were riding really hard," Nordhaug told ITV. "It was amazing how strong they were. We were in control all day and I felt very strong, I had confidence all the way and I did not hesitate at all. It was a fantastic day. It was a good start for the race and today it was just amazing. From start to finish there were huge crowds."

 

Dark skies and rain greeted the riders as the buses arrived at the start in Wakefield, but as the stage kicked off the sun broke through. After a dangerous move was shut down in the opening 30km Team Sky set about controlling the tempo on the front, with Nathan Earle, Ian Boswell, Chris Sutton and Salvatore Puccio again getting through a huge amount of work during the toughest stage of the race.

 

In front of massive crowds the race began to split apart during a relentless string of climbs. Up front Lawson Craddock (Giant-Alpecin) and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) pushed clear and combined well together. BMC Racing hit the front on the way out of Ilkley, but it was a dig from Deignan on the climb to Otley Chevin which thinned out the group significantly.

 

Nordhaug displayed his strength to cover off Sanchez and snare a key single bonus second in Arthington, and from there the Norwegian looked comfortable on his way to victory. After the stage Sports Director Rod Ellingworth praised the work of the team, the race and the crowds, but admitted it hadn't all been straightforward on the final day.

 

"The first 30km was carnage really and there were bodies everywhere," he said. "There was a break of 22 riders and Voeckler managed to get in it. They got out to 50 seconds so we had to chase really hard. The group split and then Voeckler came back.

 

"After that it all settled down and the lads controlled it as they should. The winning move really from Lars was when he took that last time bonus at the sprint. That one second meant nobody from the bunch could beat him.

 

"The crowds today were incredible, especially considering in some places it was heaving down with rain. We've all really enjoyed it."

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