Edvald Boasson Hagen won the Norwegian national road race title for the 2nd time in his career today after an enthralling finale. 2nd and 3rd place went to the Team Joker duo of Odd Christian Eiking and Vegard Stake Laengen respectively.
It would be a non-stop action packed race with numerous attacks from the gun. The general protocol of an early break goes clear only to be caught later on was totally thrown out the window. Just after 50km into the race, making that 130km still to go, 3 main groups would form on the road.
10 riders made up the front group, including Edvald. The 2nd group contained 7 riders, including Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). The 3rd group would be considered the peloton but they were strung out in smaller groups all over the road. The front group would give it a full go for the next 40km in order to establish a gap over the 2nd group, consequently eliminating the dangerous Kristoff from contention. Team Joker had the numerical advantage in the lead group with 4 riders and soon began the attacking once again.
Eventually the Norwegian continental team put themselves in a great position by placing 2 riders up the road with Lars Petter Nordhaug (Team Sky) while Edvald was left chasing with Sven Erik Bystrom (Katusha), Vegard Breen (Lotto-Soudal) as the two other Joker riders sat on; all the other early leaders dropped. The situation at 10km to go saw the chasers trailing by over 1 minute.
It looked all said and done until Bystrom put in a monstrous turn with around 3km to go, bringing the gap down to 20 seconds with 1.5km to go. This would prove to be a really friendly gesture by the Katusha rider. With the road gradually rising for the final 1500m, Edvald really just threw the kitchen sink at the race in order to try and bridge. With 100m to go, Edvald made contact with the front runners and then managed to edge ahead to take the victory after what was in essence, a kilometer long sprint.
Edvald Boasson Hagen – Rider
It was obviously a very good day and a close finish but yeah I was so happy to win. It was a tough race though, lots of attacking all day over a very tough course. It came down to us chasing that small group at the finish and I was just going full gas for what seemed like a long time. I was feeling good though so yeah I must say i’m quite pleased with how things went today, eventually catching the group and getting the win by a small margin.