Bol surprises Norwegian favourites for Stage 1 victory
Patience paid off for Sunweb sprinter Cees Bol, who out-flanked duelling Norwegian rivals Alexander Kristoff and Edvald Boasson Hagen to claim the opening stage win in Egersund …
Hundreds of cycling fans crowded alongside the final 500 metres and around the two giant LCD viewing screens at the Stage 1 finish in Egersund were left in shock as Dutchman Cees Bol (Team Sunweb) flew around the right side to steal the victory from a pair of Norwegian favourites at the Tour of Norway (UCI 2.HC) on Tuesday.
Bol blitzed the bunch sprint, including duelling rivals Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Dimension Data), at the end of the 168.2-kilometre race from Stavanger.
“It was a headwind, so I waited quite long,” Bol told Eurosport after the win. “I felt good and launched my sprint at the right moment.”
Reigning Romanian champion Eduard Grosu (Delko Marseille Provence) finished second just ahead of Kristoff and Lawrence Naesen (Lotto Soudal), while Boasson Hagen mysteriously dropped to 20th.
While Kristoff and Boasson Hagen were battling out in the final, fellow Norwegian Kristoffer Halvorsen (Team Ineos) was making his way toward a fifth-place finish despite his team’s best effort in the closing 5km.
“The finish was really crazy,” claimed Halvorsen, who is just coming good after feeling ill following the Amgen Tour of California (ATOC) earlier this month. “We tried to be in front with 5k to go over the last bridge. It was pretty technical 1- or 2k to go. We were in good position, but we got a little bit flushed in the last [kilometre], so couldn’t really start the sprint.”
The win places the recent ATOC stage winner in the yellow leader’s jersey with five stages remaining, the majority of which are sprinter friendly. But with nearly a week to go and general classification (GC) aspirations for Swiss teammate Marc Hirschi, Bol is cautiously optimistic about his own further contention.
The race resumes on Wednesday with a 174km Stage 2 from Kvinesdal to Mandal.