Albasini sprints to victory on the second stage of the Tour des FjordsWed 23 May 2018
Swiss rider Michael Albasini sprinted to victory for Mitchelton-SCOTT today on the second stage of Norwegian race, the Tour des Fjords.
After a tough start to the year due to illness, Albasini was able to turn things around today to claim his first victory of the season from a reduced group sprint into Kristiansand.
In the opening part of the race, three riders established the day's breakaway and hovered around two minutes ahead for the majority of the relatively flat stage.
The peloton controlled the distance to the leaders, like yesterday, not allowing them to gain a large advantage before working to gradually reeling them in with around 45kilometres to go.
Mitchelton-SCOTT contributed to the chase, in an attempt to bring back the leaders before the King of the Mountain sprint to give Carlos Verona an opportunity to take the jersey.
Verona crested the climb in first position to take top points in the GPM with Lucas Hamilton behind in second place, which was enough to secure Verona's lead in mountains classification after picking up points during yesterday's day in the breakaway.
Fast final laps
As the race entered the final two finishing circuits, the fireworks began and the attacks came one after the other, with riders using a climb on each lap to try and launch away.
Mitchelton-SCOTT remained in a good position with numbers on their side and with less than 10kilometres left, 10riders opened up a gap with three from the Australian outfit.
The race continued to change and with just three kilometres to go the front of the race swelled to 40riders with Albasini ready to pounce.
The 37-year-old launched from out of the wheel and to his first victory of the season, which jumps him up to second place overall with one day remaining.
Micheal Albasini - Stage 2 winner
"It is great to win, I had a really rough spring so it feels good to be back and I am super happy now to show that I am not getting too old.
"I was struggling a bit the last week, feeling tired in training so I still wasn't sure how I would be. I was maybe training a bit too much because I wanted to get back in shape, I just needed to step back a little bit and just recover so I wasn't expecting to win at all which makes it so much better.
"It was a tricky final and a harder climb than expected, we thought today would be the easier day out of the three but it turned out to be a really tough final and we actually took it by the horns.
"The boys rode really good and rode really hard on the climbs which made it easier for me to keep a position for the sprint. I came to the final corner in a good place in fourth spot and I had a good sprint, it was a long sprint but it worked out really well.
"This race is all about bonus seconds, I am now on the same time as the leader so it is not over. It is an uphill finishing tomorrow which suits me so if again I have good legs we can try and do something."
Tour des Fjords stage 2 results:
1. Michael Albasini (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 4:33:02
2. Pim Ligthart (Roompot) ST
3. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Team Sky) ST
General classification after stage 2:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Quickstep-Floors) 8:55:24
2. Michael Albasini (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
3. Pim Ligthart (Roompot) +0:04
Photos courtesy of Getty Images