Three wins in a row for Alexander Kristoff

Photo: Szymon Gruchalski


Three wins in a row for Alexander Kristoff

Alexander Kristoff claimed yet another stage victory in the Tour of Norway, as the accomplished Norwegian timed his sprint perfectly in the final stage in Stavanger for the third time in a row

Once again, it was time for a cycling festival in the traditional final stage in Stavanger, as the 2024 Tour of Norway was to be decided. Unlike previous editions where a longer loop was raced before the local rounds in Stavanger, this year the riders would tackle six laps of 21 km each. The course included the notoriously steep "Grisabakken," and there was great excitement to see if the local hope, Alexander Kristoff, could once again take the victory on the finishing straight in Vågen.

It didn't take long for a breakaway of six riders to form. Today's breakaway consisted of Kim Heiduk (INEOS Grenadiers), Natnael Tesfatsion (Lidl-Trek), Marcel Campburí (Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team), Hannes Wilksch (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL), Jakub Otruba (ATT Investments), and Laurent Gervais (Project Echelon). Later, they were joined by Jelle Johannink (TDT-Unibet), who attacked from the peloton and caught up with the breakaway with 57 km remaining.

In the peloton, Uno-X and Alpecin-Deceuninck took control and never allowed the breakaway a gap of more than 2 minutes.

The first King of the Mountains sprint of the day went to Hannes Wilksch (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL), who collected four points in the mountain jersey competition. The man leading the competition, Eirik Vang Aas (Norway), started the stage with a total of 22 points, and with a maximum of 16 points available today, his jersey seemed safe without any of his competitors in the breakaway.

The next two climbs up Grisabakken also went to the German Wilksch, who faced little competition for the points from his breakaway companions. In the peloton, Visma | Lease a Bike riders began to make their move, clearly aiming to get away. Wout van Aert showed himself at the front of the peloton and was eager to attack. The attacks from the peloton caused the gap to the breakaway to drop, and it was suddenly down to just 15 seconds. With visual contact with the breakaway, the peloton eased up slightly before tackling Grisabakken for the fifth time.

With 31 kilometers to go, the seven breakaway riders were caught by the main peloton, led by the Norwegian champion Fredrik Dversnes (Uno-X Mobility).

The penultimate climb up Grisabakken caused significant splits in the peloton after attacks from Q36.5 Pro Cycling and Intermarché-Wanty. A group of 15 riders gained a gap, including overall leader Axel Laurance (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Wout van Aert (Visma | Lease a Bike), and Magnus Cort (Uno-X Mobility).

This group cooperated poorly, and almost all of them were caught as the riders started the final of six laps. Only Per Strand Hagenes (Visma | Lease a Bike) continued to drive and built a gap of over 20 seconds. In the peloton, Uno-X Mobility took control in the chase of their countryman, before Lidl-Trek really picked up the pace heading into Grisabakken. The rider from Sandnes held off the peloton's chase for a long time but eventually had to give in. It was now time for fireworks up Grisabakken - one last time in this year's Tour of Norway.

Entering Grisabakken, the peloton was led by the man who won the first stage of this year's Tour of Norway, Thibau Nys, who was setting up for Mathias Vacek. A powerful attack from the Czech champion left only two riders able to hang on, overall leader Axel Laurance (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Bart Lemmen, who was in 2nd place overall before today's stage. Behind them, a smaller group was chasing and had visual contact with the three ahead, with the main peloton following close behind. The Lidl-Trek rider received little help from the other two, and the attack would not hold. The main peloton came roaring in, with Uno-X having played their cards well and setting everything up for the man who had won this finish twice in a row before the stage.

No one knows the finish in Vågen better than Alexander Kristoff (Uno-X Mobility), who convincingly took the victory ahead of yesterday's winner, Jordi Meus (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Wout van Aert (Visma | Lease a Bike).

The overall victory went to Axel Laurance (Alpecin-Deceuninck), ahead of Bart Lemmen (Visma | Lease a Bike) and Ådne Holter (Uno-X Mobility). The youth jersey went to Czech Mathias Vacek (Lidl-Trek), while Eirik Vang Aas (Norway) ultimately won the mountain jersey.