photo credits @ ASO
John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) finally got that elusive first victory of the 2016 season when he came out on top in a huge clash between the Milan-Sanremo champions on the final stage of the Arctic Race of Norway.
With a perfectly timed sprint, he managed to pass Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Arnaud Demare (FDJ) on the uphill finishing straight to finish off perfect work from his teammates while Gianni Moscon (Sky) finished safely to take the overall win ahead of Stef Clement (IAM) and Oscar Gatto (Tinkoff).
Gianni Moscon finished safely in the peloton and so took the overall win with a 15-second advantage over Stef Clement. Oscar Gatto was 30 seconds behind in third. Degenkolb also won the points jersey and Tom Van Asbroeck was the best climber. Moscon was of course also the best young rider and Sky just won the teams classification ahead of IAM.
“It’s a great relief to get the victory, and it took a lot of energy, almost as much as winning a Monument. I’m super happy to not be alone here as the team did an awesome job, incredibly good. They timed the lead-out perfectly and I was able to finish it off with good legs in the end. I was really close to the win twice already this week but it didn’t work out, and then today it went fine and we did a great job.”, said Degenkolb.
excerpts from Le Tour…
A royal sprint concluded the fourth Arctic Race of Norway with John Degenkolb beating Alexander Kristoff and Arnaud Démare on the finishing line in Bodø while Team Sky’s Gianni Moscon defended his blue and orange jersey with the serenity of an accomplished champion although he claimed his first two pro victories in Northern Norway: the queen stage and the overall classification. The Italian rejoined Thor Hushovd, Steven Kruijswijk and Rein Taaramäe on the record book of the recently created but already highly respected ARN.
Tom Van Asbroeck, really the King of the Mountains
125 riders started stage 4 at the Arctic Circle center in Rana, Nordland, as Tour de France lanterne rouge Sam Bennett called it a race before. In the meantime, Joe Nally from Scotland (Hardie Bike) won the u19 Heroes of Tomorrow race in Bodø as he crossed the line seven seconds before Andreas Leknessund (Ringerike SK/Tromsø) and Frenchman Théo Magniez.13 riders went away in the initial downhill phase of the race: Ruslan Tleubayev (Astana), Johan Van Zyl (Dimension Data), Haavard Blikra (Coop-ØsterHus), Andrew Fenn (Team Sky), Max Kanter (Giant-Alpecin), Tom Van Asbroeck (LottoNL-Jumbo), Paul Voss (Bora-Argon 18), Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie), Simone Antonini (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Bert Van Lerberghe (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Peter Williams (One Pro Cycling), Trond Hakon Trondsen (Sparebanken Sør) and Torstein Træen (Ringeriks-Kraft). Four riders forged on after 35km of racing: Chavanel, Van Asbroeck, Williams and Antonini. A bigger group gathered at the front in the main climb of the day. Salmon jersey holder Van Asbroeck sprinted to first place at Ljøsenhammeren (km 72) ahead of Carl Fredrik Hagen (Sparebanken Sør) and Amaël Moinard (BMC) and secured the victory in the King of the Mountains competition.
Six riders in the lead before the final circuit
Several skirmishes took place after the bunch got packed again and Philippe Gilbert (BMC) was noticed on the attack in the climb. His team-mate Daniel Oss was once again very aggressive. But it was another experienced BMC rider, Marcus Burghardt, who made a five-man front group along with Anders Skaarseth (Joker-Byggtorget), Øyvind Lukkedahl (Coop-Østerhus), Floris De Tier (Topsport), and Karol Domagalski (One Pro Cycling) with 85km to go. Fabian Wegmann (Stölting) rejoined them before the last climb of the 2016 Arctic Race of Norway. Lukkedahl was first at Kvikstadheia summit with 77km to go. He was also the highest ranked rider on GC, only 1.49 down on race leader Gianni Moscon, so Team Sky didn’t allow the breakaway to enjoy more than 2.10 of an advantage.
John Degenkolb outsprints Kristoff and Démare
On the final circuit in Bodø, Wegmann and Lukkedahl got dropped. Bjørn Tore Hoem (Joker-Byggtorget) and Vegard Breen (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) tried to bridge the gap to the four leaders but it was all together 2.5km before the finish. Giant-Alpecin seemed to have the sprint under control but FDJ seized the reins of the peloton for Arnaud Démare but Kristoff and Degenkolb were still very well positioned and the German had some more energy to jump and claim his first victory of the year. Team Sky brought Moscon home with no problem. The 22 year old Italian who is a new star in the making became the fourth winner of the ARN.
Top 20 Finishers
1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin 4:17:40
2 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha
3 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
4 Moreno Hofland (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
5 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky
6 Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team
7 August Jensen (Nor) Team Coop-Oster Hus
8 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
9 Nikolai Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff Team
10 Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
11 Ryan Anderson (Can) Direct Energie
12 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Tinkoff Team
13 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
14 Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling
15 Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Team Joker
16 Steele von Hoff (Aus) ONE Pro Cycling
17 Stef Clement (Ned) IAM Cycling
18 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
19 Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
20 Boris Vallee (Bel) Fortuneo – Vital Concept
Final general classification after stage 4
1 Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky 17:13:57
2 Stef Clement (Ned) IAM Cycling 0:00:15
3 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Tinkoff Team 0:00:30
4 Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:00:34
5 Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) FDJ
6 Sebastian Henao Gomez (Col) Team Sky 0:00:38
7 Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise 0:00:41
8 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
9 Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling
10 Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team
11 Bjørn Tore Nilsen Hoem (Nor) Team Joker
12 Loïc Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:48
13 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky
14 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha 0:00:58
15 Paul Voss (Ger) Bora-Argon 23 0:01:03
16 Rein Taaramae (Est) Team Katusha 0:01:12
17 Ryan Anderson (Can) Direct Energie 0:01:17
18 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:01:30
19 August Jensen (Nor) Team Coop-Oster Hus 0:01:34
20 Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team
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