Arctic Race of Norway: Mathieu van der Poel wins stage 1

15 August 2019 05:46
Mathieu van der Poel (Corenden-Circus) picked up where he left off four months ago when he sprinted to victory on the opening stage of the Arctic Race of Norway. The Dutchman hadn't raced on the road since winning Amstel Gold Race in April, but he hit his stride immediately, beating his fellow countryman Danny van Poppel (Jumbo-Visma) to the line in Leknes to take the stage honours and the overall lead. Just days after victory at the mountain bike World Cup in Lenzerheide, this was the umpteenth demonstration of Van der Poel's remarkable versatility. The 24-year-old toggles between road, mountain bike and cyclo-cross with remarkable ease, winning on all terrains. This was his sixth win on the road in 2019, and in just 16 days of racing. Despite his relative inexperience, Van der Poel is, with ample justification, among the very top tier of favourites for next month's road Worlds in Yorkshire. Van der Poel showed guile as well as strength in the finale to claim the honours here. He was part of the decisive 33-man move that forged clear with a little under 100km remaining after a blisteringly quick start to proceedings, and he maintained a watching brief when the escapees began to attack one another in the finale 30km or so.ADVERTISEMENT Come the last 10km, however, Van der Poel weighed up the odds and realised that the four-man delegation from Jumbo-Visma was likely to try to keep the fragmenting group together for a sprint. He carefully marked Van Poppel in the finale, and Jumbo-Visma duly pegged back a late, solo effort from an impressive Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) within sight of the line. "At the end I had to gamble that they were closing the gap. Astana had riders as well, but it was a difficult situation," Van der Poel said afterwards. "With 7 or 8km to go, I had in mind that I was waiting for the sprint. I didn't have many options, and from there, it was about timing my sprint perfectly." Van der Poel did that and more. Just as Cummings was brought back, he unsheathed a vicious acceleration that carried him a length clear of Van Poppel to take the stage win and the overall lead. Van Poppel took second ahead of Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), while Bart Declercq (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) came home in fourth place. How it unfolded You can read more at Cyclingnews.com . read full article

Source: Cycling News