With wind gusts that upended riders such as Frenchman Warren Barguil (Fortuneo-Samsic) and Norwegian favourite August Jensen (Israel Cycling Academy), riders faced a brutal Stage 2 at the 2018 Arctic Race of Norway (UCI 2.HC).
However, American Colin Joyce (Rally Cycling) was able to brave the elements and a furious sprint from Dutchman Dennis van Winden (Israel Cycling Academy) to take the wind-swept stage win in Kjøllefjord after 195 kilometres of racing from Tana.
“A reversal of fortunes for the Rally team,” said three-time Canadian Olympic cyclist and team sports director Eric Wohlberg after the 24-year-old’s stage win — his second since claiming the Tour of Alberta opener in 2016.
Arctic Race of Norway
'A game of golf would have been easier - it's my biggest win' Joyce rejoices in Stage 2 victory
“It was a 100 percent bonafide race today in the wind. We were aggressive all day long, didn’t get caught out once. It was too bad Robin [Carpenter] kind of crashed at a really inopportune time. I think we would have had two guys in that front move actually.
“The guys were good,” he continued. “Colin had to do some big bridges, so it was impressive his ride all day long.”
Wohlberg was disappointed following his team’s early mistake on the opening stage where they missed a 27-rider split and had to ride all day to bring the break back in the closing kilometres and finish 10th with Joyce, whose previous best result this season was a second-place at the Winston Salem Classic in May.
“I’ve been lucky enough to do some racing in Australia and New Zealand, so I’m used to some pretty hellacious crosswinds, but our American guys aren’t really used to that stuff. It’s great that they can come over here and experience that. They dug themselves out of a huge hole yesterday in some hard conditions and the team really rose to the occasion today.”
For 30-year-old van Winden, who was without his sprinter Jensen, it was a bittersweet result.
“I made a mistake, I went a little bit early,” the longtime WorldTour rider for LottoNL-Jumbo and Rabobank-turned-Belkin rider told Eurosport. “Normally I am a lead-out guy and I must create an opportunity and now I created an opportunity for myself, but it was a little bit early.”
“My legs were really, really good,” he continued. “I went in the early break and it was hectic. When the guys got back to me from the first echelon, we directly played the card for August — it’s his home country and last year was second on [general classification] and he is obviously really strong. The wind caught his front wheel and took him out.
“It’s really sad. I’m disappointed for him, but happy for my own result.”
For Jensen, who will be able to continue unlike Barguil, it was a case of more bad luck after he suffered a puncture inside the final 10km on Thursday.
“It went from tailwind to crosswind,” Jensen explained to Eurosport. “The crosswind hit the front wheel basically lifting it up and smashing me down. I was in the group sprinting for the victory, so it’s very disappointing. Like I told you before the race, that’s cycling."
Stage 1 runner up Sergei Chernetski (Astana), who participated in a three-rider break with Danish teammate Jakob Fuglsang and BMC Racing’s Alberto Bettiol (ITA) in the latter half of the race, takes over the overall lead from Dutch champion Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) thanks to accumulated bonus points.
The Russian holds a four-second advantage over Joyce with two stages remaining, including Saturday’s 194km queen stage from Honningsvåg to Hammerfest.
For full stage and race results click here.
Photo: Pauline Ballet
Arctic Race of Norway
Van der Poel powers to victory on opening stage
Contador backs Yates and Bernal as Giro favourites, excited by Evenepoel's Grand Tour debut