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"It was my first time riding Sanremo, so it's a good sign for the upcoming classics in Belgium. It's cool to be first over the Poggio, but the important thing is to be first across the finish line," Nordhaug says

Photo: A.S.O / S. Boue

LARS PETTER NORDHAUG

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MAARTEN TJALLINGII

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MILANO - SANREMO

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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24.03.2014 @ 10:58 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After a difficult first year with Belkin, Lars-Petter Nordhaug showed his return to form when he was the first rider to crest the summit of the famous Poggio climb in yesterday's Milan-Sanremo. Although he could only manage 15th in the final sprint, the Norwegian is pleased with his form ahead of the Ardennes classics.

 

Lars Petter Nordhaug led the bunch over the decisive Poggio climb in Sunday's Milano-Sanremo and sprinted to 15th to lead Belkin Cycling Team. Norwegian rider Alex Kristoff won in a bunch sprint in a cold, rainy day that saw Belkin rider Maarten Tjallingii ride into the day's main breakaway.

 

Nordhaug attacked over the Poggio climb with just under 8km to go in a bid to surprise the favored sprinters in the 294km Italian classic. The Norwegian led down the twisting Poggio descent, and tried his luck in a bunch sprint.

"I am satisfied with the form and the legs, but I was hoping for a better result. With all the good sprinters it was not so easy for me, so I wanted to try something over the Poggio," Nordhaug said. "It was my first time riding Sanremo, so it's a good sign for the upcoming classics in Belgium. It's cool to be first over the Poggio, but the important thing is to be first across the finish line."

 

Belkin was present in the day's main breakaway when veteran Dutch rider Tjallingii joined the day's seven-man breakaway, and he was the last rider caught by the bunch, riding over the Cipressa with 22km to go before eventually being reeled in. Cold weather and rain made for a long day in the saddle.

"I felt good and thought, you just never know if you get a nice result. It was cold and wet, to stay warm was really difficult. I stayed in the front to stay warm; that was my goal," said Tjallingii, who kept his food bag wrapped around his body to get his food easily. "This was my savior. I couldn't move my fingers. If I wouldn't had it around my neck I would have gotten this far."

 

Belkin Sports Director Erik Dekker said the team rode well to endure cold and rain to be in contention in the final hour of racing with four riders in the final. Thomas Leezer crossed the line 31st, with Bauke Mollema 37th. Tjallingii hung on to finish 41st.

"We are happy with the race. The goal was to be in the long break, because we were not the favorite for the race, and we wanted to have a few guys in the end," Dekker said. "The goal was top-10, so we were close. We were happy with the way we rode, and how we dealt with the rain and cold, because it was freezing. Nordhaug wanted to go earlier on the Poggio, but he was blocked, but he was looking good at the top. His main goal is in four weeks for the Ardennes classics, so it's a good sign.

"It was a very hard race with the rain and cold. Three hundred kilometers is a long way, so much can happen, but the favorites were always there."

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