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Re: Arctic Race of Norway
« on: August 16, 2018, 21:49 »
Yep...the Flying Dutchman stamped his authority on the race from day 1 - this finish is basically head and shoulders above the rest.


Notice also the entanglement near the base of the final hill, there is no 3-kilometer rule due to uphill finish (!) so this will effectively cool down a lot of hot GC hopes.

However, this stage was really worth watching - despite leaving work early to catch the sprint I turned on the telly just to see van der Poel cross the finish line, some 15 minutes ahead of the fastest schedule. (!) I decided I could just wait for the recording to come up on the streaming service and started watching from kilometer 0. It's just 4 weeks since I was on the same roads for vacation purposes so it is kind of nostalgic with a look back already. And, racing-vise this was not an ordinary small stage race stage with a sprint at the end. This is what I saw.

A large group of some 20 + riders headed by #katusha Katusha with Thiago Machado but with almost all teams represented, escaped already at the first intermediate sprint, some 15 km from the start on a 184 kilometer stage. The winds picked up on the exposed coast along the Varanger fjord and the rest of the peloton split into 3 groups, making the race a race between a total of 4 groups that were playing accordion on the time gaps for some 100 kilometers: waxing and waning with a maximum stretch of around 2 minutes from the front group to the second group. Eventually, as the route left the coast and headed inland there was less winds and the rear 3 groups merged back and started a somewhat better organized chase, but only catching the last of the breakaway, #cofidis Anders Skaarseth, after the first lap on the finishing circuits.

Skaarseth subsequently helped chase down the late attackers, and earlier in the day he won the climbing jersey (THE INFAMOUS 500 KGS OF SALMON JERSEY!) In other words, #cofidis should get the permanent contract ready in no time, or some other team will - it seems like the #unox development is already functioning just the way it should. (He is currently on a stagiare deal with the red horde #cofidis).   

It was a stage race stage raced like a classic, in the final there were no sprint trains although #bmc tried to no avail - too many tight turns to get a large carriage going and ideal for a cyclocross king of repeated accelrations.

Positive surprises:
#cofidis Skaarseth
#vlaanderen DeClerq
#rally and #academy organizing the peloton
#katusha attacking so early the others just left the breakfast table

#wanty Eiking (from declaring I am the captain yesterday to "saddlesore" today????!??)
#academy Jensen (not his fault, puncture in the final, lost only 1 min)
#katusha Lammertink (also probably not his fault but he was involved in the crash at the bottom of the hill)
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