91| Cristian SCARONI
Christian Scaroni (Astana Qazaqstan): “I think we could have done better”
On one hand, I’m happy because this result means I’m in good shape and it will give me confidence going into the next races in my schedule, which are also important. On the other hand, the outcome is a bit of a shame because I think we could have done better, particularly in this final sprint on which Michele [Gazzoli] and I haven’t managed to fully understand each other. Had I made it to the stage podium, I would have taken the bonus seconds to get the overall win… Yet I have nothing to regret. I tried my best. I’ll just have to further sharpen...
125| Vincent VAN HEMELEN
Vincent Van Hemelen (Flanders-Baloise): “A nice prize to take home… but it’s just a start”
I’m very happy of this Peacock jersey and about my overall performance in this Arctic Race of Norway. I’ve been able to show my legs. I went to Andorra for a training camp and it has paid off. I don’t know what this Arctic might mean for my career. I hope it’s just a start. I’m already racing with the big guys, but there is still a long way to go before I can beat them. This is a nice prize to take home… but it’s just a start.
6| Kevin VERMAERKE
Kevin Vermaerke (Team dsm-firmenich): “A step in the right direction for me”
Coming into this day everyone was sitting quite close in the GC, with only a couple of seconds separating the top15. We had a plan to go for the first intermediate sprint, and I picked up a couple of seconds there to move myself up to third in the provisional GC. We wanted to play for the stage win in the final, but it was pretty hard to get a gap because of the headwind. It all came together in the last kilometer and we did a super long sprint there. I was coming from behind with some momentum and tried to find my space to overtake the others, but I didn’t and thus...
16| Stephen WILLIAMS
Stephen Williams (Israel-Premier Tech): “I’m proud to be a part of this”
It definitely was quite a stressful stage, to be honest. The start was very hectic, as there was no breakaway for the first 70 kilometres, but once it went, we played it perfectly. It was a really good day, with fantastic teamwork from all the guys. There were 15 men in that break, and just two or three Israel riders rotating at the front of the bunch to keep the gap below 2’30” all day. It was selfless work, and I’m proud to be a part of this. We knew we didn’t need to bring the gap down, as we were content as long as the gap was around a minute...
61| Clément CHAMPOUSSIN
Clément Champoussin (Arkea-Samsic): “It’s good to win, no regrets”
I have no regrets about this week. It’s true that I missed the right move on the second stage and I ruined my chances for the GC, but that enabled me to race without any stress on my shoulders over the two final stages. It’s good to win, and I’m sure my teammates are pretty happy about this victory since they have pulled for me in the final kilometres today. I’ve managed my sprint quite well, as I knew there was some headwind and I had to sit on someone else’s wheel for as long as possible.
81| Tobias Halland JOHANNESSEN
Tobias Halland Johannessen (Uno-X): “Tomorrow’s stage is going to be chaos as well”
I went a bit too early in the final kilometer, as I really wanted to get the victory today. My teammates rode like heroes all day long, as they had done over the first two stages. We have really showed that we are one of the strongest teams in this race, both in the crosswinds and in the climbs. It’s really fun to be part of this team, and I believe we are making the race fun to watch for the spectators too. Tomorrow’s stage is going to be chaos as well. I’m looking forward to it.
16| Stephen WILLIAMS
Stephen Williams (Israel-Premier Tech): “I was confident going into the final climb”
I’m really happy to get win today and repay all my teammates for their excellent work today. It’s also my first victory for this team. I was confident coming into the final climb and was given the responsibility today. It was a bit of a stalemate towards the end because of the headwind. Still, I was able to throw my hands in the air after coming past with a good final kick.
Today’s weather conditions were very demanding. The last hour and a half, in particular, was freezing with all those descents. There is just one more day to go and I will do everything...
125| Vincent VAN HEMELEN
Vincent Van Hemelen (Flanders-Baloise): “It’s been a brutal day”
It’s been a brutal day. I could get in the break and take the points in order to keep this Peacock jersey. That made for a good start. When the echelons happened and the first peloton caught us back, it was good for me because my team’s GC riders were not at the front and I could sit on the wheels and wait for them to come back. In the uphill finish, I did the lead-out for my sprinter Milan [Menten], who then got a bit boxed in in the final meters. Anyway, it has been a good, successful day for us overall.
175| Alfred Bruce Noah HOBBS
Noah Hobbs (Groupama-FDJ Continental): “I didn’t expect this, but I’m glad the race has turned out this way”
I didn’t expect to be in the Midnight Sun jersey after two stages, but I’m glad the race has turned out this way for us. It’s been a hard day with rain, wind and cold. We went with it and managed to stay near the front the whole day, as planned. It’s going to be hard to keep this jersey, because the final two stages are hillier than these first two, but I’ll do my best with my team around me. It’s hard to compete at this level at my age, but I try not to think of how old I am compared to the rest of the riders and I race the way I’ve...
94| Michele GAZZOLI
Michele Gazzoli (Astana Qazaqstan): “This is a dream win for me”
My victory might be a surprise for you, but I’ve worked so hard towards this goal. I’m so happy to finally come back after one year. The last few kilometres were hard because there were a few turns and a short climb. I could start it around the 10th position of the bunch, behind the DSM guys. At that point I thought that, since my legs were in good shape and my mind too, this could be my day. When I started my sprint, I quickly realized I was going to win and get my first victory as a pro. Today’s stage has been a real cycling day. It’s been cold,...