The 4th stage of the Tour des Fjords would see a massive shake up in the GC as riders would cross the finish in one’s and two’s today. Soren Kragh Andersen (Trefor – Blue Water) would take the stage win after out sprinting Amets Txurruka (Caja-Rural) and teammate Michael Olsson.
The 3 top riders were initially part of a 17 rider breakaway that went clear with 70km to go. Nic Dougall and Kristian Sbaragli were part of this decisive move and the large group were able to build up a lead of just over 3 minutes. With enough fire power upfront and an unsure chase coming from the peloton, the escape held a good gap all the way to the 9km finishing circuits.
The circuit would be completed 3 times and with the super tough climb up Asveien on the circuit it would make for an exciting finale. Eventually Orica-Greenedge and Katusha would fully commit to the chase but it was tough to establish a good rhythm on the circuit. With 2 laps to go the race had blown apart, both up front in the break and back in the peloton.
With 9km to go Jaco Venter and Edvald Boasson Hagen were in the 20 rider peloton, 1’30” behind Kristian who was in the break now consisting of 13 riders. Kragh Andersen attacked on the final ascent up the climb, this would be the final race winning break. Daryl Impey (Orica-Greenedge) would also attack on the climb just over a minute later and Eddy would follow this move. Overnight GC leader Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) had no response at this point.
With still 3km to finish line from the top of the climb, it was every man for himself coming into the finish. Kris would come across the line in 8th after a mad pursuit from the top of the climb and Eddy would come home in 14th. Kragh Andersen would take over the GC lead while Kristian’s ride saw him slot into 8th on the GC as well. Eddy is now 12th on GC with just the final stage to go.
Kristian Sbaragli – Rider
The stage was pretty hard, harder than we expected it to be especially on the circuit. I was in the break and I didnt work too much because we had Edvald in the peloton and the climb was too hard and steep for me. Anyway I fought to stay in front and unluckily there was a split just before the last climb because of a lot of attacking. I tried to cross the gap but I wasn’t able to make it so I ended with 8th.
Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
It was a difficult final circuit today. Intially there was a 4 rider break today but Caja Rural chased that down and then all the attacks started again until a group of 17 riders went ahead. In this group we had Nic and Kristian. Nic worked hard to gain time and Kris saved energy. The group was later reduced but we still had Kristian there as an option for the stage win. Finally 3 riders got away on the last climb and made it to the finish. Edvald also attacked on the final, trying to gain time for the GC. In the end I am happy because we were fighting for the stage win right to the end on a very hard day.