Mads Pedersen (Stolting) won stage 3 of the Tour of Norway, taking a solo win ahead of Lluis Mas Bonet (Caja Rural) while Sondre Holst Enger (Norway) placed 3rd. Pieter Weening (Roompot) held onto the overall race lead by crossing the line 4th today.
Once again, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were riding with a plan centered around Edvald Boasson Hagen. Our African Team riders followed all of the early moves which resulted in a compact group arriving at the first sprint of the day. Boasson Hagen won the sprint and gained enough seconds to move up to 3rd on the overall classification.
From the sprint, a big group of 20 odd riders, including Edvald, rode clear of the peloton. They were eventually chased down but not before Pedersen, Mas Bonet and Postlberger used their slight lead to make the definitive break of the day. Roompot were left to control the break to the trio and they held them around the 5 minute mark.
As the 168 kilometers that needed to be completed ticked by, the gap wasn’t really coming down much and so our African Team sent Adrien Niyonshuti to assist with the chase. There were 2 short sharp climbs in the final 15km of the stage and this is where we hoped to make an impact on the race.
Unfortunately there was very little assistance from any other teams in the chase and so once again we weren’t racing for the win. A select chase group formed over the penultimate climb after Natnael Berhane did some good work on the slopes to make the race hard. Boasson Hagen was then left to take on the final climb from a group of 7 riders.
In the end Pedersen and Bonet survived to take the top two podium places and the select group sprinted it out for 3rd place. Boasson Hagen, after once again doing the lion-share of the work in the final 15km had to be content with 7th on stage.
Oli Cookson – Sport Director
The whole team was incredible as a unit all day. Reinardt was back and forth with bottles, did a big pull, got dropped then came back again and did another pull on the descent before the final climb. He can be proud of his work. Natnael also did a big final pull at the end and Adrien and Youcef were working hard all day in wet and really hard conditions. One of the elements of cycling is that people don’t want to collaborate and that’s how it goes, it was a lottery in the end and we did we all we could. We worked as a team, we did all the planning we could but that’s the way it is. I think Edvald did a good ride up the final climb, he was up there with the first guys and he is up to third on GC now so we keep fighting.