Edoardo Affini claims first pro win at Tour of Norway
With peloton rapidly closing, Mitchelton-Scott neo-pro out-sprints remaining break-mates to record Stage 4 victory and give the Australian WorldTour team its second win of the day …
The 22-year-old neo-pro managed to keep just enough in the tank to out-muscle his four remaining fellow breakaway riders to hold off a surging peloton bent on closing the gap and vying for the Stage 4 win in Sandefjord.
“It was a big fight between the breakaway and the bunch and we managed to stay away just enough,” Affini explained to Eurosport after spending 167 kilometres at the front of the longest stage (224km) of the six-day race.”When I did the last corner I could see the finish line and knew it was now or never, so just did my sprint and I am happy with my first win.”
Break-mates Anders Skaarseth (Uno-X Norwegian Development Team), Armée Sander (Lotto Soudal), Rasmus Quaade (Riwal Readynez Cycling Team) and Daniel Turek (Israel Cycling Academy) all crossed the line on the wheel of Affini, with Alexander Kristoff leading the field seven seconds behind.
Tom Scully (EF-Education First), one of the original breakaway riders, fell off the front in the final circuit, leaving the five survivors to fight for the finish.
When asked if he ever felt confident of taking the break to the line, Affini admits he had an inkling, but he did not allow himself to become overly optimistic due to the rapid closing capacity of the chase.
“When I saw the gap was almost five minutes, I thought maybe,” said Affini, who joined Mitchelton-Scott this season after two years with Dutch Continental team SEG Racing Academy. “But with the bunch, it is always super hard because they go super fast and can close like this [snaps fingers]."
The race resumes on Saturday with the potentially race-deciding penultimate stage — a 159.7km mountain stage from Skien to Drammen.