Mezgec sprints to ninth, Affini drops one place to third overall after stage five in Norway

Sat 1 Jun 2019

The fifth stage at the Tour of Norway saw Slovenian sprinter Luka Mezgec take another top ten finish in a bunch sprint won by Alexander Kristoff (UAE).

Mitchelton-SCOTT worked to keep yesterday’s stage winner Edoardo Affini safe and well positioned throughout the day, but with Kristoff taking bonus seconds for first place on the stage, he bumped Edoardo Affini down to third place overall, now at two-seconds with just one stage remaining.

A while before the breakaway goes

Unlike the previous stages, it took over 40kilometres before a breakaway could establish ahead of the peloton despite multiple attacks early on.

Five-riders formed a move and opened up a lead on the 159km stage, with all Mitchelton-SCOTT riders in the main peloton, keeping Affini out of trouble.

Break caught early

Unexpectedly, the breakaway’s advantage quickly dropped down to under 30seconds but with 70kilometres still remaining on the stage.

Coming back within striking distance, attacks began to fly from the bunch with four-riders successfully bridging across to the leaders for a period of time before the race changed once again. 

Back for a sprint

Once the finish line drew closer, all the breakaway riders were caught after two-riders also tried their chances off the front. It wasn't to be for the break and the stage concluded with a bunch sprint. Mezgec tried again in the sprint finish to finish with another top ten placing for ninth.

Affini stayed safe throughout the day to finish the penultimate day in third place overall, two-seconds down on the new race leader Kristoff and kept hold of the white jersey heading into tomorrow’s final hard and hilly stage.

Luka Mezgec

“Edoardo was going really well even though it was really hard day on some moments. I was in a perfect position in the sprint, with good legs, but I fell asleep for a moment when I needed to go and than I got boxed in. It’s frustrating because I have good sensations on the bike but just forgot how to sprint.

“Tomorrow we try everything to keep Edoardo at the front and and defend the GC position with him. It’s a hard climb in the final so we will see.”

Edoardo Affini 

“I think it was a bit harder than what it was looking on the paper today. I think we rode really well today, always staying together and out of trouble.

“Now I am third on the GC but is not a problem because we are not putting too much pressure on that and also tomorrow we'll race for sure all out, but without stressing too much about GC.”

Tour of Norway Stage 5:

1. Alexander Kristoff (UAE) 3:39:44
2. Alvard Hoged (DQT) ST
3. Kristoffer Halvorsen (INS) ST
9. Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

General Classification after Stage 5:

1. Alexander Kristoff (UAE) 21:17:22
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Dimension-Data) +0:01
3. Edoardo Affini (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:02

Photos courtesy of Getty Images