Having taken five weeks away from bike racing, Alexander Kristoff proved he’s not forgotten what he’s doing, taking the opening stage in his home tour.
Katusha’s Kristoff sprinted into the leader’s jersey at the Tour of Norway by pipping Caleb Ewan and Edvald Boasson Hagen to the line in Sarpsborg in a slightly uphill finish.
The Norwegian purple patch of form in the Spring Classics, winning the Tour of Flanders and Scheldeprijs, while claiming top-10 finishes at Milan-San Remo, E3 Harelbeke, Ghent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix.
“It’s great to win at home and that’s what I’m here to do, so I’m very happy to win the first stage,” he said. “It was a very strong break and I had to put all of my guys on the front to pull and we were barely able to catch them – it was a close one.
“But even after taking a rest I knew after a good training period that I could still win. I felt a little bit heavy today and I started a bit too far back in the sprint so I wasn’t too sure how it would go and was somewhat nervous.”
Having played the supporting role to Adam Blythe at the Tour of Turkey, Ewan was given free reign to target the sprint but couldn’t overcome Kristoff at the finish.