Dylan Teuns secured his sixth win in three weeks today after powering away from the rest of the field to secure victory on the opening day of racing at the Arctic Tour of Norway.
From the moment the flag dropped on stage 1, the pace of the peloton saw riders spread out across the road before an initial four rider breakaway went clear after 10km of racing. However, the speed of the bunch never wavered with riders drawn out in single file behind the quartet before they were ultimately caught with 136km of racing still to come.
The attacks continued to fly off the front of the peloton with a group of 15 riders, including Danilo Wyss, extending an advantage of more than 30 seconds but, once again, they were pulled back as more riders tried their luck at the front of the race.
Eventually, on the first of three categorized climbs, the Lavangseidet Summit, four riders were able to tip their advantage over the one-minute mark as the peloton finally sat up, allowing the action to settle down and the gap to grow further.
The leaders’ advantage peaked at over five minutes with 70km to go and the peloton quickly reacted, pulling them to within a comfortable two minutes heading into the final 50km before the final chase began, and the race was brought back together with 13km to go.
More attacks started almost immediately and, as the peloton headed onto the 11km finishing circuit around Narvik, which included the final category one climb, two riders were holding onto a narrow advantage over the rest of the field.
On the early slopes of the Skistua Summit, the steep gradient took its toll with the leading duo quickly pulled back before only a select group of 35 riders, including Teuns, was left in the main bunch heading onto the fast and technical run into the finish.
Going under the flamme rouge, the road began to kick up once again, and Teuns seized the opportunity to continue his recent run of success by launching an explosive attack off the front of the group.
With his intentions clear, Teuns made it look easy as he powered away from the rest of the field before punching the air with delight as he took the stage win and the first leader’s jersey of the race.
The Winner’s Interview with Dylan Teuns
Congratulations, Dylan! Did you expect to win today’s stage?
“It was a bit of a surprise, but I knew that it wasn’t going to come down to a big bunch sprint. I was here in 2015 when it was the final stage and Silvan Dillier won. This year it was only one lap and two years ago it three or four laps, so it was much harder, but from that, I knew that I had a chance and that it wouldn’t come down to the sprint.”
Talk us through the final moments of the stage.
“In the last 5km, I followed the good riders in front, but I didn’t do any of the work, and I waited for the right moment on the final climb. I wasn’t in the front at the beginning of the climb, I was maybe in a top ten position, but I moved to the front and then, I started my attack in the last few meters before the climb. I took the right corner and I saw I had a gap, so I just kept going until the finish line.”
And looking ahead to the rest of the race.
“It’s too early to think about the win as there are still three more days of racing to come, but I will work hard to defend the leader’s jersey, and we will see what happens.”
Quotes From the Finish Line
Sports Director, Klaas Lodewyck:
“The final was pretty hard today, and every rider had the opportunity to jump with the moves and they did a very good job. The group was not that big in the end, and it was good to have Dylan Teuns up there at the finish and take the win. He looked strong, and tomorrow we will work hard to defend the jersey but for now, we will enjoy this victory, and we will see what is possible over the course of the race.”