And with that the 2018 Arctic Race of Norway (UCI 2.HC) has wrapped in Alta with Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) bookending the four-stage Europe Tour race with a pair of victories to close out his summer road calendar in Alta on Sunday.
The 2015 cyclo-cross world champion, who recently captured the Dutch road race title and finished second at the European championships last weekend, made it look easy as he separated from the bunch in the closing 50 metres of the final 145.5km to coast into his sixth victory of his short season, which started in with a stage and race win at Boucles de la Mayenne (2.1) in June.
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“It was a hard sprint,” explained the 23-year-old, who finished second the day before behind Stage 3 winner and Czech teammate Adam Toupalik. “It was fast last laps here on the local course. The front group still had quite an advantage. The Peloton did a great job [to bring it back].
“I think it’s amazing to ride here with the whole team like this and it’s good for team spirit as well,” continued van der Poel, who just signed a five-year contract with the Belgian-based UCI Continental team. “And it’s nice to finish the season with a win. It’s my last road race this summer, so I’m very happy about it.”
Norwegian Sondre Holst Enger (Israel Cycling Academy) crossed the line behind the stage winner in second, followed by a pair of Frenchmen, Quentin Pacher (Vital Concept Cycling Club) and Loïc Chetout (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits).
Sergei Chernetski (Astana) concluded the ARN in the blue and orange overall leader’s jersey after initially lifting in on Stage 2 won by American Colin Joyce (Rally Cycling) thanks to bonus time. For the 28-year-old Russian, it was his first win since winning the national time trial title in 2016, and his second win in Norway after winning both a stage and the general classification at the 2013 Tour des Fjords.
“I want to thank my team because they helped me control the race from the start,” said Chernetski. “This is a big victory, because my last win was years ago and I want to thank Astana for giving me an opportunity.”
Joining Chernetski on the final GC podium is Norwegian Markus Hoelgaard (Joker-Icopal) at 11 seconds back and Joyce at 12. Van der Poel wins the points classification, while Norwegian Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (Fortuneo-Samsic) takes home 500 kilograms of fresh salmon from Laks for earning best climber honours.
For final stage and race results, click here.
Photo: Pauline Ballet
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