Jonas Koch finished the opening stage of Arctic Race of Norway in the top 20, while 2017 Tour de Pologne winner took the triumph and started his journey towards third consecutive GC victory.
Info: 10th of August, Engenes (Andørja) – Narvik, 156,5km
Course: hilly (one cat. 2, two cat. 1 climbs)
How it unfolded
It was quite a fast opening of the race, with multiple attacks and fast pace in the bunch. Nikolay Mihaylov was one of 14 riders who went away early in the stage, but the break was just too strong to be let go by the bunch. It was pulled back after gaining as much as 25 seconds of advantage.
Next attempt was the successful one, with Bernard Eisel (Dimension Data), Daniel Diaz (Delko Marseille Provence KTM), Oivid Lukkedahl (Team Coop) going clear and establishing over 4-minute lead. At first Jon Breivold (Team FixIT.no) was also in the mix, but got dropped with more than 90km to go.
With 26km remaining the trio was joined by fours chasers and at that point the peloton was just 35 seconds behins. Among those who bridged to the leaders was Eduard Grosu (Nippo – Vini Fantini). He didn’t hesitate and decided to pull away solo. The bunch had other plans for him though, catching him with 13km to go.
The “orange squad” was very attentive in the wet and cold conditions, riding at the head of the bunch. On the last cat. 1 hill, with the top just 5km from the line, the race favorites accelerated and riders of Polkowice-based team were unable to keep up with the strongest. At the end of the day Jonas Koch arrived in 17th place (16s back).
Tour de Pologne winner, Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing) took the stage besting August Jensen (Team Coop) and Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty – Groupe Gobert).