What's Cool In Road Cycling

Tinkoff line-up for Tour des Fjords

Tinkoff sends a balanced line-up of riders looking to take their chances for stage results at the five-day Tour des Fjords in Norway. With a mixture of stages to suit all types of riders, Erik Baška and Nikolay Trusov lead the team’s sprint chances, while Pawel Poljanski returns from illness to test his form on the hillier terrain.

Joining the three is Juraj Sagan, who comes to the race from France and the Bretagne-Classic – Ouest France, and he’s joined by two of the team’s young stagiaires, Lorenzo Fortunato and Andrea Montagnoli.

“Pawel has suffered from illness a bit this season and he’s returning to racing here after some time out so we will see how he is day-by-day, without any pressure,” explained Sport Director, Tristan Hoffman. “Juraj is in pretty good shape and he will be a good guy for the breakaways here. Then we have Erik and Nikolay for the sprints, with the two stagiaires who can try for the breaks and also support the other guys. We want to give everybody their chance to go for a result here so hopefully we can come away with something.

“There are only four WorldTour teams racing so the level is not really high, but then this doesn’t mean it will be an easier race. We go with no absolute leader and we’ll see how Pawel goes on the mountain stage as to whether we try for GC or not.”

The racing kicks off with two stages that suit a sprint, but with a rolling parcours throughout, breakaways could also pose a threat and the team will have to be alert and ready to go with the dangerous moves. The third day should be where the GC is shaken up, with a mountain climb to over 1,000m and a rolling route after this. Then the last two stages are similar to the opening days favouring either a sprint or a breakaway to prevail.

Hoffman gave some thought to the stages ahead, saying: “It’s a really beautiful race here and tough racing too. Normally the first few stages are for the sprinters or a small breakaway, and then in the middle we have a mountain stage with a serious climb to tackle. Hopefully the guys can take their chances here.”

Erik Baška will be looking to the sprint opportunities in Norway:

The Race
Stage 1, Os – Bergen, 146.9km

The opening stage in Norway presents a profile of constantly rolling roads, but with no climb over 250m altitude. The final hill of the day crests with less than 10km to go and could provide a launch pad, but if the sprinters are up for it, it should be their day.

Stage 2, Stord – Odda, 212.5km
The second longest stage of the race, day two takes in a 212.5km route with the main difficulty falling in the final part of the race. A long climb takes the riders to around 400m altitude before a fast descent down the other side to the finish.

Stage 3, Ulvik – Suldalsosen, 221km
The queen stage of the race takes in a long mountain climb during the middle of the stage, coming in two parts with the first crest after 103.8km before a short descent and another climb. Once the riders descend off the back of this main difficulty there’s a steady rolling route in to the finish in Suldalsosen.

Stage 4, Stavanger – Sandnes, 165.6km
The penultimate stage of the five-day race is, much like the first two, a rolling route with just the one climb breaching 300m altitude. If the sprinters are organised again today, it should be a day for a fast finish.

Stage 5, Hinna Park – Stavanger, 183.3km
For the final stage in Norway, the peloton tackles a steady route that tracks the coast for much of the day, providing a stunning backdrop for the final chapter of the race to unfold. Suiting another sprint, the stage only features one climb that breaks 200m altitude.


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