Affini takes top-20 as the sprint teams take their chance on stage one at the Tour of NorwayTue 28 May 2019
The opening stage of the Tour of Norway came down to a bunch sprint with Italian Edoardo Affini finishing as Mitchelon-SCOTT’s highest placed finisher in 14th.
Stage one always looked set to be one for the sprinters and so it proved as Cees Bol (Team Sunweb) took the win, while the Mitchelton-SCOTT rolled home safely in the bunch.
Four riders soon formed the breakaway as the peloton rolled out of Stavanger, and with the bunch seemingly happy with the composition of the escapees, the gap grew out to over seven minutes inside the opening 20-kilometeres.
That advantage was soon capped at just over four minutes with the sprinter’s teams coming to the front of the pack to keep the gap in check. The four leaders mopped up the points for the mountain’s classification and the intermediate sprint bonus seconds, with the peloton upping the pace as they reached the finishing circuit.
A crash in the bunch with 23-kilometres to go then caused a split in the pack and gave the break more belief that they could hold on for unlikely victory as their advantage remained around the one-minute mark.
However, the sprinter’s teams were in no mood to pass up an opportunity for the stage victory with Deceuninck-Quick Step leading the chase as the gap fell to 30-seconds at the 10-kilometre to go banner.
The break’s day out front eventually came to an end with just three kilometres remaining as the sprint trains scrambled to get organised for the kick to the line. Affini was amongst the chaotic final kilometre and he tried to bring teammate Luka Mezgec to the fore for the final sprint.
But with a messy and narrow run to the line Mezgec found himself with nowhere to go and was forced to roll in behind Affini in 17th place.
“The plan was to look for big breaks in the beginning and to help Luka in the finale. In the end we had a break of four guys, so we stayed in bunch. The guys in the break had some good legs for sure, cause we had to go really hard on the last lap to catch them.”
“It was a hectic finale with a lot of wind. Me and Luka were close, so I tried to keep him out of trouble, but he didn't find space to move up. So yes, in the end we didn't really get the result we were looking for.”
"I think for the next days the plan will be more or less the same, looking for some good moves and helping Luka if there’s a sprint."
Tour of Norway Stage 1 Results:
1. Cees Bol (Team Sunweb) 3:55:12
2. Eduard Michael Grosu (Delko Marseille Provence) ST
14. Edoardo Affini (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.