– It was a nice day and beautiful victory. I want to thank all my teammates, who did very good work today, which allowed me to get a chance for a win in the final. Inside the final kilometers guys built a good “lead-out train” for me, so all I had to do was just to win the stage. I am happy with the victory, that gives me more confidence that my preparation for the Tour de France is on the right path, -explained Alexander Kristoff.
The second stage of the Tour des Fjords started in Eidfjord and finished in Haugesund after 203,1 km of racing. During first 20 km nobody could get clear in the break, so the first intermediate sprint was played by the peloton – Alexander Kristoff won it, taking 6 points and 3 bonus seconds. Right after that finally a group of 4 riders escaped.
The breakaway group took a very good advantage of 12 minutes. But closer to the final, the peloton started to chase it and inside the final 20 km almost all riders were caught. The only rider who managed to stay in front was Tsgabu Grmay from MTN-Qhubeka. The peloton, led by Dmitriy Kozonchuk and Viacheslav Kuznetsov was able to neutralize him with 8 km to go.
With 3 km to go Team Katusha went in front for Alexander Kristoff, placing a strong lead-out “train” for the leader. At the finish line Kristoff started his powerful sprint, putting all his rivals behind him. Second place at the stage went to Tom Van Asbroeck from Topsport-Vlaanderen, the current leader of the UCI Europe Tour. Third place was for Sondre Holst Enger from Team Sparebanken.
– Today’s stage suited us, so we were motivated for a good result. The guys did a very smart race – they started to chase in right moment, they caught the breakaway. Then at the finish, they lead-out Alexander Kristoff, who took a solid win. I am happy with our new victory here in Norway. I think these wins bring more motivation to the whole team, both here in Tour des Fjords and in other races in Italy and Germany, – said sports director of Team Katusha Torsten Schmidt.
After the second stage Alexander Kristoff became the new overall leader of the Tour de Fjords, taking the yellow jersey. In addition, now he is the leader of the point’s classification too (green jersey).
Tomorrow will be held the 3rd stage – 163 km from Hjelmeland to Forsand with a number of hard climbs, which could have a crucial impact over the general classification of the race.