Affini sprints to his first professional victory for Mitchelton-SCOTT at the Tour of NorwayFri 31 May 2019
22-year-old Edoardo Affini had an incredible ride at the Tour of Norway today, to claim his first ever professional victory for Mitchelton-SCOTT, after spending the lengthy 224kilometre stage in the breakaway.
The Italian timed his sprint to perfection, powering away from the other five breakaway riders to take the race win and move up to second place overall, on the same time as race leader Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Dimension-Data).
The right move
The fourth and longest stage began with a flurry of attacks with many riders trying to get into the day’s breakaway. Rob Stannard jumped away with two others for a short while, but with the peloton on high alert, the trio weren’t allowed any freedom for long.
As they were drawn back in, Affini waited in the wheels behind and picked a good move to follow which quickly opened up a gap and established a steady lead over the peloton.
Touch and go
The Mitchelton-SCOTT rider and his five breakaway companions hovered in front around four-minutes ahead for the majority of the day with Team Dimension-Data, the race leaders, doing most of the controlling.
After tackling the two categorised climbs on the route, the pace in the bunch picked up further and the advantage dropped under four-minutes and continued to decrease.
With just 11kilometres remaining, the breakaway riders fought on ahead and continued to hold a gap, but it was down to just one-minute.
It was touch and go if the group would be caught as they made their way around the final lap with a slim advantage of just 25seconds, as they entered the final three-kilometres.
Just doing enough, the breakaway group held off the chasers and sprinted it out for the stage victory.
A day of firsts
Following on from Esteban Chaves’ stage victory at the Giro d’Italia, the first stage victory for the Australian outfit in this year's edition of the race, the young Italian’s win today in Norway was his first ever victory as a professional rider and his first race win riding in Mitchelton-SCOTT colours.
Affini now also leads the young riders classification and sits in a very promising position heading into the final two stages, with the overall race win within striking distance.
“It is my first professional win so I will always rememeber this day, it is amazing.
“It was a super hard day, full gas from the start, then I managed to go into the breakaway and we had a really good collaboration. We were able to get a good gap on the bunch but we knew that when they start to chase fast that they can close the gap in just a few kilometres, so I was not really sure if we could stay away.
“On the last lap the guy from Lotto-Soudal decided to go really hard on the small climb on the circuit and we were a bit split but we managed to come together again and went full gas to fight against the bunch.
“When we entered the last kilometre I thought maybe it was possible, and when I did the last two corners I just found a good position and I said to myself just go all in and if they catch me it doesn’t matter.
"I tried everything and in the end I was able to do it so I am really happy. It is a great feeling."
Tour Of Norway Stage 4 Results:
1. Edoardo Affini (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 5:07:30
2. Anders Skaarseth (Uno-X) ST
3. Sander Armee (Lotto-Soudal) ST
General Classification after Stage 4:
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Dimension-Data) 17:37:40
2. Edoardo Affini (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
3. Cees Bol (Team Sunweb) +0:07
Photos courtesy of Getty Images