Late attack sees Gerrans sprint to third on stage one of the Tour of NorwayWed 17 May 2017
Multiple Grand Tour stage winner Simon Gerrans sprinted to third place for ORICA-SCOTT on the opening stage of the seventh Tour of Norway today in an attack filled finale played out over two fast finishing circuits.
An early breakaway was allowed to stay away for most of the day by a relaxed peloton before the racing intensified going into the first of two closing circuits of the finish town of Asker.
As the break was caught the field set itself for the bunch sprint, but the repeated attacks made for a nervy finale before a fast closing kilometre saw Edvald Boassen-Hagen (Dimension-Data) take the stage win from the sprint with Gerrans in third.
“We expected an aggressive start to the race, but we never really saw it,” explained sport director Matt Wilson. “The breakaway was formed by some of the smaller teams and that set up the day until we got closer to the final laps and the business end of the race.”
“It was a fast finish and Simon and the guys did well, we wanted to start positively and get ourselves into a position where we can race aggressively and on the front foot and that’s what we have done.
“Some of the team are in the rebuilding phase after a demanding spring, we all agreed that Simon was our best chance to compete for the stage win and unanimously decided to back him. We are happy with how the race has started and hopefully we can build on today’s result.”
How it happened:
The seventh Tour of Norway began with a 169kilometre opening stage from Honefoss to Asker, the races first breakaway formed early on with a trio of riders going clear after numerous attacks.
After 50kilometres of racing over eight minutes separated the leaders and the relaxed peloton.
The bunch started to pay attention after the halfway point, reducing the gap down to three minutes as the lead group lost a member and only two riders attempting to push on.
With 45kilometres left to race there was only one rider left out front with close to four minutes on the chasing peloton and the first of two finishing circuits coming with 30kilometres to go.
The peloton increased the speed of the chase going into the first circuit and caught the lone leader immediately, the race was on with 25kilometres to go and a compact bunch getting set to contest the finale.
Attacks peppered the finale with four riders creating a small gap with only five kilometres remaining before being brought back a few moments later.
Gerrans tried his luck over the final rise in the last kilometre, but it was Boassen-Hagen who took the win with a late push to the line and Gerrans holding on for third place.
Tour of Norway stage one results:
1. Edvald Boassen-Hagen (Dimension-Data) 04:14:01
2. Tosh van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal) ST
3. Simon Gerrans (ORICA-SCOTT) ST
General Classification after stage one:
1. Edvald Boassen-Hagen (Dimension-Data) 04:13:51
2. Tosh van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal) 00:00:04
3. Simon Gerrans (ORICA-SCOTT) 00:00:06
Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com