Arctic Race highlights up-and-coming talent Nikias Arndt

Stage summary10.08.2013Stage 3- Svolvær / Stokmarknes

The Arctic Race of Norway is more than a Thor Hushovd one-man-show. The Norwegian hero lost the lead in Stokmarnes only twenty-four hours after taking it in Svolvær as time bonus promoted stage 1 winner Kenny van Hummel who bounced back in the blue-orange jersey because of finishing second behind young super talent Nikias Arndt. The 21 year old German won the first race of his pro career in Norway and demonstrated that his Argos-Shimano team and his country have more in store in the sprinters' category after the fabulous Tour de France of four-time stage winner Marcel Kittel.

Sven Erik Bystrøm makes a household name
The main breakaway of the day was formed after 35 kilometres of racing by seven riders: Mathias Friedemann (Champion System) who was already noted on the offensive during stage 1, Tony Hurel (Europcar), Timofey Kritskiy (Katusha), Fabien Bacquet (BigMat-Auber 93), Sven Erik Bystrøm (Øster Hus-Ridley), Sondre Hurum (Oneco) and Louis Verhelst (Cofidis). Their first battle at the exit of the Sløverfjord tunnel allowed Bystrøm to winning the King of the Mountain price located at km 63 and five… meters (!) above sea level. His team-mate August Jensen standing in second position in this classification at the start in Svolvær, it appeared that the boys directed by Morten Hegreberg have the intention to dethrone red jersey wearer Lars-Petter Nordhaug (Belkin). For young Norwegians, the Arctic Race is also a way to expose their talent to Pro Teams. Bystrøm, a double national champion for criteriums who can also climb very well, is one of the most promising of them all.

BMC forced to work a lot
The advantage of the seven breakaway riders went up to 4.35 when there were 115 kilometres remaining. The BMC team of overall leader Thor Hushovd took control of the chase while Friedemann, with a deficit of only 11 seconds on GC, has been the virtual wearer of the blue-orange jersey for a couple of hours. The American squad was in fact forced to go deep into their resources. With 25km to go, Bystrøm showed more of his talent and split the front group with only Hurel, Kritskiy and Verhelst able to go with him. As the peloton was close to reel the leading quartet in, Bystrøm rode offensively again and was followed by Kritskiy. In a similar scenario as the day before, the pack was all together again with 7km to go.

A tight finish with a young winner
Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) attempted to go solo over the second last bridge as he responded to an attack by Edwig Cammaerts (Cofidis) 5km away from the finishing line. The runner-up of Paris-Roubaix was the last man caught while Argos-Shimano took over from BMC at the head of the bunch with 3km to go. The slightly uphill finish looked perfect for Hushovd but Kenny van Hummel (Vacansoleil-DCM) followed him closely and Nikias Arndt was perfectly positioned by his team-mate. It was a very tight finish for a thrilling finale that excluded Hushovd from the top three positions awarding time bonus. Crossing the line in second place behind Arndt, Van Hummel received six seconds of bonification and took over from the Norwegian champion as the race leader. With only one stage remaining, it means the suspense is enormous ahead of the conclusion of the Arctic Race of Norway in Harstad.

Nikias Arndt: “I'm not the new Kittel but I'm proud to win here”
“It was really really hard today”, Nikias Arndt said after the finish. “We had a plan for the finish but we changed it with 5km to go and we gave everything. My team was unbelievably strong and gave me a perfect lead out. That's why it was possible to beat Thor Hushovd today. I got a bit of luck as well. As we crossed the line, we didn't know who had won. I said that I was in the top 3 for sure but I had no idea at which place. We had to come back to the line and ask. As the officials told us that I had won, I celebrated with my team-mates. This is a fantastic feeling. I love racing here, with the view over the sea and sunny weather conditions like this. Now I'm asked if I'm the new Marcel Kittel, it's a good question but I don't think so. To sprint against Marcel is something crazy. For now, I'm very proud that I can win a stage at the Arctic Race and maybe I can get a second chance tomorrow. At Argos-Shimano, we have a lot of young guys who can sprint and lead out. We'll go to the Vuelta without Marcel or John Degenkolb, but it'll be Jonas [Ahlstrand], Roman [Sinkeldam] and myself.”

Kenny van Hummel: “I'm going to defend the lead”
“I chose the wheel of Thor Hushovd with the intention to win a second stage”, new race leader Kenny van Hummel commented. “I'm disappointed that I finished only on second place but I'm going to defend the leader's jersey on the last day. I'm very motivated. I love the atmosphere of this race with such a nice weather and beautiful sceneries to watch when we race.”

Stage 3 Svolvær / Stokmarknes

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the stage 4

Classifications after the stage 4

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