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Arctic Race of Norway

Danny van Poppel (3rd): “I waited a little too long”

For the first time in its history, the Arctic Race of Norway (2.Pro, 5-8/8) crossed borders. Jimmy Janssens and Fredrik Dversnes, two survivors of the early breakaway, reached the border with Finland in the final 15 kilometer of the 178 kilometer stage first. The peloton had to accelerate on the rolling course to catch the leaders with 2 kilometer to go. The Estonian rider Martin Laas defeated Alexander Kristoff and Danny van Poppel in a very exciting sprint in Kilpisjärvi, only a few kilometer away from the border triangle with Sweden. Tom Devriendt, 7th, was the second rider of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in the top 10.

This was rather a hard sprinter stage. Despite the high pace in the peloton, the early breakaway restisted well. So two of our riders worked to chase them down in the final. I felt good and found an excellent position to start the sprint, but I waited a little too long. My last meters were fast and I came close to the victory, but I can be satisfied with this podium spot. As the best teams in the world aren't here, the race is more open which I like. Tomorrow, we've got new chances with Odd! 

This Saturday, the queen stage will bring the riders from Finnsnes to Målsel in 185 kilometer. Decisive time gaps can be created on the climb to the finish on Fjellandsby Summit (3.7km at 7.7%).


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