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Arctic Race of Norway 2015 Stage 2

photo credit @ ATN 

Sam Bennett dismantles the Norwegian sprinting army

excerpts from Le Tour

Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18) definitely spoiled the Norwegian sprinters’ during stage 4 of the Arctic race of Norway today, after he emerged as the fastest man to cross the finish line in Setermoen.

Meanwhile, after finishing third in the lead group, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) managed to retain the overall race lead with a two second advantage ahead of tomorrow’s Queen stage in the Alpine village of Målselv.

Meanwhile, Edvald Boasson Hagen had a disappointing finish in today’s stage, after suffering from both illness and lack of team support.

Race Highlights

126 riders took the start of today’s stage in Evenskjer. Much like yesterday’s race, a duel between Norwegian riders Kristoff and Boasson Hagen animated the first of the intermediate sprints, with Boasson Hagen emerging as the victor ahead of Amaury Capiot (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Kristoff.

Despite being within a virtual two seconds of Kristoff in the overall GC, Boasson Hagen’s MTN-Qhubeka squad was one rider down as Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg was a non-starter today – due to throat infection and fever.  In addition, another member of the South African team, Theo Bos, abandoned in the feed zone of today’s stage as well. 

Bideau wins half a ton of salmon

Six riders finally managed to go clear after 60km of racing: Maxat Ayazbayev (Astana), Jean-Marc Bideau (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Carl Fredrik Hagen (Sparebanken Sør), Torstein Traeen (Ringeriks-Kraft), Sindre Eid Hermansen (FixIT.no) and Krister Hagen (Coop-Øster Hus). Katusha started to chase them down when their advantage reached three minutes. IAM Cycling was the other very active team at the head of the peloton.

Bideau won the special reward of half a ton of salmon, after he won the last KOM points of the day at Lavangseidet.

However, the French rider was later rejoined after the climb by Hagen, Hermansen and Ayazbayev. The latter gave up with 35km to go, while  teammates Kristian Aasvold and Andreas Erland (Sparebanken Sør), commenced a counter-attack from within the ranks of the chase group, with the hope of bridging themselves to the lead trio – but to no avail. 

Bennett backed by a strong Bora-Argon 18 team

With 20km remaining, Bideau decided to forge ahead on his own. But, everything came back together again during there last 15km, as Stef Clement did most of the work for IAM Cycling at the helm of the peloton.

From there, several teams came to the fore, in an attempt to force an inevitable bunch sprint. But, Bora-Argon 18 was the most prominent team, followed by Katusha, who was left with only three riders to assist Kristoff.

A last minute acceleration by Tinkoff-Saxo’s Michael Kolar served to briefly disrupt the flow of the peloton. But, Bennett proved to be the strongest rider, with the 24-year old Irish rider clinching the victory. 

Stage 2 Results

IRL 1 BENNETT, Sam (BORA-ARGON 18) 3:41:05
ITA 2 ZURLO, Federico (UNITEDHEALTHCARE)
NOR 3 KRISTOFF, Alexander (KATUSHA)
SVK 4 KOLÁR, Michal (TINKOFF – SAXO)
GBR 5 MCLAY, Daniel (BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT)
NED 6 GERTS, Floris (BMC RACING)
KAZ 7 KAMYSHEV, Arman (ASTANA)
BEL 8 VAN STAEYEN, Michael (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS)
NOR 9 ENGER, Sondre Holst (IAM CYCLING)
NOR 10 LANDA, Oscar (TEAM COOP-OSTER HUS)

General Classification after Stage 2
NOR 1 KRISTOFF, Alexander (KATUSHA) 8:39:30
NOR 2 BOASSON HAGEN, Edvald (MTN – QHUBEKA) + 2
IRL 3 BENNETT, Sam (BORA-ARGON 18) + 7
BEL 4 CAPIOT, Amaury (TOPSPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE) + 9
BEL 5 VAN STAEYEN, Michael (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS) + 11
ITA 6 BONIFAZIO, Niccolo (LAMPRE – MERIDA)
NOR 7 ENGER, Sondre Holst (IAM CYCLING)
NED 8 GERTS, Floris (BMC RACING)
FRA 9 TURGIS, Anthony (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS)
BEL 10 SALOMEIN, Jarl (TOPSPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE)

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