Van Hummel steals the show on inaugural stage

Stage summary08.08.2013Stage 1- Bodø / Bodø

VAN HUMMEL Kenny Rober © A.S.O.

Kenny van Hummel is the winner of stage 1 of the Arctic Race of Norway. It was even a 1-2 for Vacansoleil-DCM with Barry Markus passing Thor Hushovd at the very end. The Norwegian champion was highly expected as a winner in Bodø but the bunch sprint came at the end of a very demanding race due to cold and windy conditions. After claiming his first win of the season, Van Hummel will start stage 2 with the leader's jersey but Hushovd who crossed the line in fourth place is far from having said his last word.

Hushovd, early in action

The first edition of the Arctic Race of Norway has started on a fast mode. Tailwind hasn't allowed the riders to enjoy the encouragements of the numerous crowd. People had painted the road in a similar style as the Tour de France. With 48 kilometres covered in the first hour, there wasn't much room for breakaway to succeed. Thor Hushovd (BMC) didn't wait long for entering in action. As soon as the first intermediate sprint was in sight, he sprinted to capture the time bonus and preceded Mathias Friedemann (Champion System) on the line at Fauske (km 57). His team-mate Adam Blythe took third place behind Sébastien Turgot (Europcar) and Kevin van Melsen (Accent Jobs-Wanty) at the second hot spot sprint located in Rognan (km 85.5).

 

Belkin on the move

Hills at half way into the race inspired Belkin Pro Cycling. Their aggressive racing propelled eight men at the front with 70 kilometres to go: Lars-Petter Nordhaug and Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin), Marco Haller (Katusha), Angelo Tulik (Europcar), Nicolas Vogondy (Accent Jobs-Wanty), Stijn Neirinck (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Sébastien Delfosse (Crelan-Euphony) and Filip Eidsheim (Øster Hus-Ridley). Obviously, Nordhaug, the other Norwegian star of the event who doesn't have the same characteristics as Hushovd as a sprinter, had decided he'd do anything to avoid a bunch gallop in Bodø. He secured the first King of the Mountains jersey but wanted more than that. With 40km to go, his acceleration split the front group in two. Vanmarcke, Haller and Tulik went with him. Nordhaug continued solo 27km away from the finishing line.

 

Bunch regrouping with 8km to go

With Vanmarcke rejoining his team-mate, Belkin's duo gave an impressive show. While a bunch sprint was expected when the peloton led by BMC and Argos-Shimano got a maximum deficit of only one and half minute, Nordhaug and Vanmarcke's chances increased in the last 20 kilometres. For a while, they maintained an advantage of 50 seconds but several teams gathered at the head of the peloton. With 8km to go, it was all together again. Team Plussbank of the young team-mates of Sondre Holst Enger led the charge but Argos-Shimano seemed to have the bunch sprint under control until Kenny van Hummel outsprinted everyone as he chose the right path on the left side of the road in the last 200 metres.

 

Kenny Van Hummel: “It feels great to win again”

“I'm really happy with this victory”, stage 1 winner Kenny van Hummel reacted. “I've waited for a long time to get my first win this year. I'm glad it happens here and now. We're not used to race so far north and it's a bit of a climate change after the hot weather I recently experienced in Belgium. I was a bit surprised to see so many spectators on the road despite the cold. The race was also hard today and I was struggling a little bit. But at the end, I managed to fight well for positioning. I was in competition with Thor Hushovd, it was a great challenge to beat him here as he was so motivated for winning in his country. But I wanted to position myself behind the wheels of the Argos guys and I did. In the last 200 metres, I went full speed. It feels geat to be a winner again.”

Stage 1 Bodø / Bodø

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the stage 4

Classifications after the stage 4

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