Van der Poel and Chernetski fly high in Alta
19 august 2018 - 18:31 [GMT + 2]
Dutch national champion Mathieu Van der Poel claimed his second stage win at the Arctic Race of Norway as he won the conclusive stage in Alta in an uphill sprint finish ahead of Sondre Holst Enger and Quentin Pacher. Russia’s Sergei Chernetski took the overall victory.
107 riders started stage 4 in Kvalsund. Quickly after the flag off, 12 riders took off: Guy Niv (Israel Cycling Academy), Tiago Machado (Katusha-Alpecin), Sébastien Delfosse and Julien Mortier (WV Aqua Protect-Veranclassic), Kristoffer Skjerping (Joker-Icopal), Mekseb Debesay and Connor Swift (Dimension Data), Cyrille Lemoine (Cofidis), Preben van Hecke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Wesley Kreder (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Nikolay Mihaylov (Delko Marseille Provence-KTM) and Miguel Bryon (Holowesko-Citadel). After 10km of racing, their advantage was already 45’’. The highest ranked on GC being Van Hecke, 24th at 2’09’’, the Astana team of race leader Sergei Chernetski maintained the time difference around three minutes.
Machado tries his luck
On the final laps in Alta, Direct Energie took over from the Kazakh team at the helm of the peloton. Machado tried to avoid the return of the main pack by breaking away from the leading group with 13km to go but he was reined in two kilometres further. The Corendon-Circus team of stage 1 and stage 3 winners Mathieu Van der Poel and Adam Toupalik showed their motivation for getting one more victory. Debesay was swallowed by the bunch 9km before the end. The peloton was very active in the Thomasbakken climb 5km before the finish. It was all back together with 2km to go, except for Swift and Skjerping who forged on until the red flame.
Van der Poel intouchable
Van der Poel was perfectly positioned. Nicolas Roche launched the sprint but the Dutch champion passed him with 200 metres to go to cross the line with a significant advantage over Sondre Holst Enger (Israel Cycling Academy) and Quentin Pacher (Vital Concept). Escorted by his Astana team-mates till the end, Chernetski put his name on the record book of the Arctic Race of Norway after Thor Hushovd (2013), Steven Kruijswijk (2014), Rein Taaramäe (2015), Gianni Moscon (2016) and Dylan Teuns (2017).