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  1. It was another wet and windy day to end off this year’s edition of the Tour of Norway. As the riders took on 163km from Drobak to Sarpsborg, 2 riders got away and the peloton gave them a maximum lead of 5 minutes. Roompot started the intial chase and then it was our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and the Team Norway riders who came to assist. Adrien Niyonshuti did an incredible job once again, pulling on the front for most of the stage. The stage ended with 3 laps of a really tough circuit which included a hard 1.5km climb. Boasson Hagen had come to see the circuit a few weeks ago and so our team went into the stage with a clear plan. The 2 rider break was caught as expected and the stage would be decided on the final circuit. Our African Team did a great job once again to keep Edvald in prime position for the start the all-important final climb. Boasson Hagen put in a few testing surges on the climb and the fatigue in the peloton was noticeable. So near the top of the hill our Norwegian star accelerated away from the group and never looked back. With 6.5km to go to the line, Boasson Hagen totally emptied the tank and it was enough, as he crossed the line 8 seconds ahead of a charging peloton. The result also saw Boasson Hagen finish the race in 2nd position overall. It was a good day. We had control over the break and the team did really well, always being in front with me. Towards the end I tried to attack and I managed to stay away which I am really happy about but the team did really well so I am very happy. I had come to see the circuit before so I knew all the corners and it was really wet today so I knew where I could go really fast. It was nice to know about the circuit beforehand. Edvald Boasson Hagen - Rider The team were fantastic today once again. All the guys did a great job and Eddy finished it off with a great ride. It was really special to do it in front of his home crowd as well. It has been a great week for us here in Norway, the riders and staff all worked incredibly hard and well together so we are really happy with our performance here. Oli Cookson - Sport Director
  2. Our African Team were always on the front foot during today's 174km stage from Fla to Eggemoen as Reinardt Janse van Rensburg jumped into the early break of the day. With representation in the break, the other teams were forced to make a contribution to the race while the rest of our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders could spend the day riding in the peloton. The team looked after Boasson Hagen and were riding well as a unit, not even a stray dog that ran into the peloton and caused Youcef Reguigui to crash could disrupt our plans for the stage. Reguigui got up straightaway and chased backed to the peloton to support Edvald. When the race came onto the finishing circuit, Janse van Rensburg was still part of the 7 rider break but the peloton had brought the gap down from 5'00" to 45" with just 10km to go. The race came back together with 2.5km to go and Janse van Rensburg held his position in front to assist Boasson Hagen and Reguigui with their positioning. The race was in pieces though as the rain and wind had taken its toll on the riders. Reguigui did a good final turn before Edvald was left to take on the technical sprint finish with 11 other riders. At one point it looked like Boasson Hagen wasn't going to get a gap to start his sprint but the Norwegian champ found a way, and crossed the line first. This would be Boasson Hagen's 4th win of the season and our African Team's 11th win of the year. In the overall classification, Boasson Hagen remained in 3rd place but the gap to Pieter Weening's leader’s jersey is now 43 seconds away from Edvald. It was great teamwork today. We managed to get Reinie in the breakaway and then we could just sit in the group and relax, and save for the final. The rest of the team helped to keep me in a good position all day and also into the last climb. I managed to stay on the right wheel and took the sprint so I am really happy about the teamwork and for my victory of course. There was a lot of headwind in the sprint so I had to wait but I was also getting boxed in a bit so I was happy to get out and it's great that I managed to take the win. Edvald Boasson Hagen - Rider
  3. The stage took in a few undulations over the 173km from Drammen to Langesund but nothing too severe and so the sprinters had a real interest in today's stage. The peloton nearly let the win slip through its fingers though as the early 5 rider break of the day was only caught with 3km to go. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka assumed responsibility for leading the chase with our Norwegian champion the overall race favourite. Our African Team riders did a sterling job to control the gap for the majority of the stage alone, with a few teams later only lending a rider each to help with the chase. With only 5 riders at our disposable, who had already worked tirelessly throughout the day, it was difficult to control the final as we tried to set up Boasson Hagen for the final. In the end, our Norwegian star didn't have the position to challenge for the win and just rolled home with the peloton. We had a big plan for the day, but it was very difficult as we only have 5 of 6 riders. Everyone was looking to us with Edvald and also as one of the 3 World Tour teams here, we knew it would be difficult. The team is super motivated to be here though, the weather is good and the countryside is beautiful. We knew the race would be very hard from the start and we just wanted to make sure we were happy with the composition of the break. We identified a couple of teams that might be a danger to us and made sure they didn't get away. Ourselves, Lotto-Jumbo, Drapac and later Lotto-Soudal and Caja Rural all sent a rider to pull. It was up and down all day, windy in parts as we went inland and back to the coast a few times. Adrien Niyonshuti was pulling all day, he did an amazing job keeping the 5 guys to a max of 6 minutes. It was with 30km to go that the other teams came to help. It was a super-fast downhill run to the finish but with 4km to go there was a 1km climb of 6% and we anticipated this as being a key point but the bunch held steady over the climb. Edvald wasn't able to perform his sprint but there a more stages to come and better suited to him where we want to capitalize. Oli Cookson - Sport Director
  4. Our African Team will be led by Edvald Boasson Hagen who returns to racing after a short break following his Spring Classics campaign. Last year Boasson Hagen finished 2nd overall in his home country tour and this year he will aim for one step higher on the podium. With most of the stages suiting strong punchy riders, Boasson Hagen will certainly be one of the favourites but no doubt, the Norwegian Champion will also be a marked man. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will send a strong team to support Boasson Hagen though and so our African Team will be up for all the challenges they are faced with. Boasson Hagen will be a able to count on our quartet of African Riders to support him as Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Natnael Berhane, Adrien Niyonshuti and Youcef Reguigui all start the Norwegian UCI 2.HC event. We are looking forward to racing at the Tour of Norway and we are ready for a tough race in this beautiful country. The motivated team of riders will be structured around supporting Edvald 100%. In general the race will be hard to control with less riders in each team (than usual) and taking into account the challenging terrain Norway has to offer. Oli Cookson - Sport Director
  5. The final Tour of Norway stage would be a wet and tough 175km affair. A hard 12km circuit would be completed 3 times to end of the race and it was the late breakaway rider, Andreas Vangstad (Sparebanken Sor) who would come out on top. Click here to view the article
  6. As Vangstad was not a threat to the GC riders, when the main group come home just 14" later it meant Jesper Hansen (Tinkoff-Saxo) would win the Tour of Norway overall while Edvald Boasson Hagen was able to secure 2nd overall for our African Team. The final stage saw an 8 rider break go clear in the early stages and they were held to a 2'30" gap for most of the stage. The tough finishing circuit took its toll on the leaders though and the lead group slowly started to disintegrate. Vangstad would attack from the peloton with 17km to go, the Norwegian would catch the remnants of the break and push on into the race lead. By the final stages of the race the peloton was also greatly reduced and the lone leader was still ahead by 30" with 3km to go. Edvald put in a big attack at 2km to go but when the road leveled out for the final 1km, there was a general regrouping in the main group. Frederik Galta (Coop-Osterhus) was 2nd across the line, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) was 3rd while Eddy rolled in in 17th place. It was the final day today but it definitely wasn't an easy one. We had some really bad weather conditions for the final 60km's with cold and rain. The final circuit was also a difficult one and only a small group made it to the finish together. We wanted to wait for the final climb and try with Edvald. The rest of the team supported him until then and he tried but everyone was looking at him to make the move. 2nd overall on GC is a good result for the team and for Edvald in his comeback. The team worked fantastically during the entire race and I want to thank all the boys for their great effort throughout the race. Alex Sans Vega - Sport Director
  7. The Tour of Norway saw another tough stage in the Hardanger area. 167 km from Rjukan to Geilo were on the menu today with a three categorized climbs. Spaniard Amets Txurukka (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) managed to drop his closest rivals on the final incline, wining solo ahead of David Lopez (Sky) and Davide Rebellin (CCC-Sprandi). Edvald Boasson Hagen consolidated his good overall position, coming in just outside the top10. Click here to view the article
  8. The day saw another strong performance of Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung who were setting the pace in the peloton, leading the chase of Pim Ligthart (Lotto-Soudal) and Bob Jungels (Trek). The young Luxemburger was clearly the stronger of the two, going solo with 47 km left to race. At this moment the gap was at 6.30 minutes, but it was set to steadily come down before the peloton reached the final climb towards the finish in Geilo. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung and Tinkoff-Saxo kept on leading the charge. After Jungels was brought back it was Marco Minaard (Wanty-Group Goubert) who tried his luck. With 2 km to go it was all together though, until David Lopez (Sky) put his cards on the table. He was followed by Edvald who eventually would struggle insight the final kilometer. Race leader Jesper Hansen (Tinkoff-Saxo) tried to counter Lopez, but in the end it was Txurukka who picked up the pace 500 m from the line. He came in 5 seconds ahead of Lopez and Hansen, who extended his GC lead to 47 seconds. Edvald managed to second in the overall, finishing the day in 12th place. Lopez sits third. The Tour of Norway will conclude today in Hønefoss. The team was really strong again today, keeping me in a good position. Unfortunately, I was not strong enough in the finale and lost a bit of ground on the last climb. It’s a pity that I wasn’t able to pay off the effort but tomorrow is another day. I’m happy to still be up there. Edvald Boasson Hagen – Rider It was a superfast stage today. In the beginning there were a lot of attacks and it took around 40 km until two riders were able to get a gap. They managed to establish a lead of around 6.30 min. In the break Bob Jungels was clearly the stronger rider and he rode an incredible race today. With 50 km to go we took control of the peloton to help Edvald to another good result. He did not have the legs in the end, but the team did really well again and it’s just a matter of time until the work will pay off. Alex Sans Vega – Sports Director
  9. Stage 3 of the Tour of Norway would see another strong performance of Edvald Boasson Hagen who eventually finished second on the day. The teams Norwegian allrounder was one of the most active riders in the final and managed to put himself in a good GC position for the upcoming stages. Click here to view the article
  10. The 185 km stage from Skien to Rjukan saw a fast start with a group of five escaping after several unsuccessful attacks. The quintet was able to establish a solid lead of more than 8 minutes, before the peloton started to chase. With the 11 km long and 7 % steep Flisetjonn climb coming up just insight the final 30 km the break was certain to be reeled in again. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung and Tinkoff-Saxo would lead the peloton onto the lower slopes of the climb. The roadsides were still covered in snow, and made for a perfect scenario for the days final countdown. After the break was brought back, Frank Schleck (Trek) was one of the first riders to hit the front. Nevertheless, it was Edvald who was able to open up a significant gap with 28 km to go. Prior to the race he had been inspecting the climb and the hours spent in the saddle proofed to be worth it. Even though his move was covered and he was dropped with around 23 km left to race he managed to stay in sight of the leadgroup from which Jesper Hansen (Tinkoff-Saxo) would move on and eventually win solo. Edvald was clearly the strongest rider on the downhill towards Rjukan and closed in on the lead quite quickly. With 1.5 km to go he had passed all other riders in front of him, except for Hansen. The Dane came home 38 second ahead of our Norwegian allrounder, who once again showed that he has recovered well from the collarbone fracture he sustained earlier this season at Ghent-Wevelgem. Third place went to Ivan Santaromita (Orica-GreenEdge). Serge Pauwels rounded out a strong team performance, coming in 19th on the day. Edvald sits now second in the overall and is set to consolidate his position. The team worked really well today and kept me in a good position from the start. We were on the front of the peloton the whole time until we reached the Flisetjonn climb. I felt really well and attacked but had to suffer when a few other riders countered. I managed to catch them on the downhill but Jesper Hansen was to far ahead. I’m happy with the day, as the result puts me in a good position in the overall. Nevertheless, I’m still looking to win the Tour of Norway and I’ll keep on fighting. Tomorrow will be another hard day, so we will see. Edvald Boasson Hagen – Rider It was another good day for the team. After a hectic start a break of five riders got away. The situation went as we had hoped for, since we didn’t want a big break to go. We controlled the gap together with a few riders from other teams and set Edvald up for the big climb. He attacked and looked good, but was dropped when Hansen went from a small group. Edvald managed to bridge across to the other riders and eventually dropped them on the incline towards the finish in Rjukan. The time he put into his rivals looks good and we will try to keep him on the podium. We will see what the next two days bring and keep on trying to get a stage and the overall. Alex Sans Vega – Sports Director
  11. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung would ride confidently on the front of the peloton for the better part of the 2nd Tour of Norway stage, only faltering slightly in the final 5km of the stage. Edvald Boasson Hagen still managed a top 10 finish though as he collected 9th place for our African team today. Click here to view the article
  12. With 5 riders forming the break early on, MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung were looking to avoid the alarm bells that went off during yesterday's touch and go chase and kept the escapees on a shorter leash today. The course was more undulating than yesterday making it slightly easier to pull back the lead riders as they tired near the end of the 199km stage. Again all the MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung riders did a sterling job to marshal the race. Jay Thomson kept a close eye on proceedings all day while Edvald Boasson Hagen sat the South Africans wheel in complete safety from the bunch. The other MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung riders all took their turn at setting the tempo to ensure another sprint finish would decide the stage. The final would become slightly messy as a number of teams would now make their way to the front of the bunch. Eddy was in a good position with 2km to go, sitting in the wheels of Caleb Ewan (Orica-Greenedge) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). The fast descent to the final km saw a number of risk takers diving for position which saw Eddy emerge in about 20th place when road levelled out. Our Norwegian star would open his sprint really early to leapfrog a number of riders but it would only be 9th place on the day for Eddy as Kristoff took the win ahead of Ewan and Andy Fenn (Team Sky). Today was the longest stage of the Tour of Norway and it was also a very windy day as well. The break took a short while to form, eventually going clear after 34km with 5 riders. After 130km of racing we started to work in the front together with a few other teams to reduce the time gap. It was safer to keep the gap small as there was always the threat from the crosswinds. The final was super-fast and the headwind was softer than we expected in the last 4km. We rode in support of Edvald but the finish didn't quite work out as planned. We will continue to support Eddy in the coming stages. Alex Sans Vega - Sport Director
  13. In his first race back after breaking his collarbone at the Gent-Wevelgem in late March, Edvald Boasson Hagen sprinted to 3rd place on today's opening stage of the Tour of Norway. Only Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Caleb Ewan (Orica-Greenedge) would cross the line ahead of Eddy. Click here to view the article
  14. While the stage always looked to be one for a bunch kick on paper, this was not such a certainty with 10km to go. An original break of 5 riders went clear early on and the gap was always under the control of Katusha, Orica-Greenedge and Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung. It was with 50km to go that things got interesting as Sean De Bie and Pim Ligthart from Lotto-Soudal bridged the 2 minute gap to the leaders. Now 7 strong, the break pushed the lead back up to 3'00" with just 25km to go. It took a chase at full effort by Katusha and the MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung riders to bring the escapees back. Jaco Venter, also in his first race back after breaking his humerus, would put in some monster turns while the rest of the boys positioned Eddy for the hopeful sprint. 400m to go and the break were caught! Eddy launched his sprint on the tough uphill gradient and was only just passed by Kristoff and Ewan inside of 100m to go. It was a great return to racing for Edvald after an all-round superb team performance to set up the finale. I am pretty happy with how the stage went today. The team were really good and positioned me well throughout the stage. For my first race back I must say I was feeling pretty good actually. We have got a nice result on which to build on for the rest of the week. Edvald Boasson Hagen - Rider
  15. None of the stages could be considered to have any massive mountains to deal with but then none of the stages are particularly flat either. Numerous short hills of gradients around 7% will be the order for of most of the stages. With only 6 rider teams, all is poised for an open and exciting race over the next 5 days. The Tour of Norway also marks the return to racing for Edvald Boasson Hagen. Eddy broke his collarbone at the Gent-Wevelgem earlier in the year and has since made a full recovery. Starting alongside Eddy after also being out of action with a broken bone is Jaco Venter. Jaco fractured his humerus at the Coppi e Bartali but is ready for action after 2 weeks of solid training. The rest of our African team will be made up by Jay Thomson, Songezo Jim, Nic Dougall and Serge Pauwels. As always our boys will be looking to race from the front this week and after having raced in Norway on a couple of occasions now, the boys will be motivated for what is one of the most scenic races on the calendar. My training has been going really well for the last few weeks and I look forward to getting back into racing. Starting again in my home country of Norway is just ideal as well so already I am very motivated. Edvald Boasson Hagen - Rider The Tour of Norway is the home race of Edvald and it is also the race in which he returns to racing after breaking his collarbone so he is looking forward to the race for both those reasons. It is not a super hard race but this makes the race more open and also there will be strong teams on the start line but only with 6 riders each instead of 8 as per usual. The whole team would like to perform well and support Edvald this week. We hope to make it an exciting race and get a good result in the week. Alex Sans Vega - Sport Director
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