Stage 3 of the Tour of Norway would see another strong performance of Edvald Boasson Hagen who eventually finished second on the day. The teams Norwegian allrounder was one of the most active riders in the final and managed to put himself in a good GC position for the upcoming stages.
The 185 km stage from Skien to Rjukan saw a fast start with a group of five escaping after several unsuccessful attacks. The quintet was able to establish a solid lead of more than 8 minutes, before the peloton started to chase. With the 11 km long and 7 % steep Flisetjonn climb coming up just insight the final 30 km the break was certain to be reeled in again.
MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung and Tinkoff-Saxo would lead the peloton onto the lower slopes of the climb. The roadsides were still covered in snow, and made for a perfect scenario for the days final countdown.
After the break was brought back, Frank Schleck (Trek) was one of the first riders to hit the front. Nevertheless, it was Edvald who was able to open up a significant gap with 28 km to go. Prior to the race he had been inspecting the climb and the hours spent in the saddle proofed to be worth it. Even though his move was covered and he was dropped with around 23 km left to race he managed to stay in sight of the leadgroup from which Jesper Hansen (Tinkoff-Saxo) would move on and eventually win solo.
Edvald was clearly the strongest rider on the downhill towards Rjukan and closed in on the lead quite quickly. With 1.5 km to go he had passed all other riders in front of him, except for Hansen. The Dane came home 38 second ahead of our Norwegian allrounder, who once again showed that he has recovered well from the collarbone fracture he sustained earlier this season at Ghent-Wevelgem. Third place went to Ivan Santaromita (Orica-GreenEdge).
Serge Pauwels rounded out a strong team performance, coming in 19th on the day.
Edvald sits now second in the overall and is set to consolidate his position.
Edvald Boasson Hagen – Rider
The team worked really well today and kept me in a good position from the start. We were on the front of the peloton the whole time until we reached the Flisetjonn climb. I felt really well and attacked but had to suffer when a few other riders countered. I managed to catch them on the downhill but Jesper Hansen was to far ahead. I’m happy with the day, as the result puts me in a good position in the overall. Nevertheless, I’m still looking to win the Tour of Norway and I’ll keep on fighting. Tomorrow will be another hard day, so we will see.
Alex Sans Vega – Sports Director
It was another good day for the team. After a hectic start a break of five riders got away. The situation went as we had hoped for, since we didn’t want a big break to go. We controlled the gap together with a few riders from other teams and set Edvald up for the big climb. He attacked and looked good, but was dropped when Hansen went from a small group. Edvald managed to bridge across to the other riders and eventually dropped them on the incline towards the finish in Rjukan. The time he put into his rivals looks good and we will try to keep him on the podium. We will see what the next two days bring and keep on trying to get a stage and the overall.