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press releases 21.05.2014, 22:59
Tour of Norway. Alexander Kristoff takes the win at debut stage

Russian WorldTour Team Katusha kicked of the 2.HC Tour of Norway with a nice victory: Alexander Kristoff took a perfect win at the 1st stage of the race after a fantastic team strategy.

- I am glad to take a victory from the beginning. For me the Tour of Norway is a very important race, so to be successful here really counts for me. The final of the stage was not ideal for my abilities, the last km was pretty hard, but thanks to my team I was able to win. During the whole stage the guys worked hard for me – they supported me and controlled the breakaway. In the final, I received huge help from Marco Haller. I am really happy to finish the perfect team work with such a victory, - explained Alexander Kristoff.

The first stage of the Tour of Norway was held around Larvik and constituted 147,5 km. Practically from the beginning the breakaway of 7 riders was developed. They took a good advantage of 5 minutes, but thanks to Team Katusha, who worked in front of the peloton almost the entire day, the break was neutralized in the final 10 km.

Because of the rain it was quite dangerous in the final part of the stage, but the peloton still had a very high pace. At the final km Belkin riders tried to attack, but Katusha was able to close the gap. After that Kristoff started his victorious sprint. Second place went to Sondre Holst Enger from Team Sparbanken, while the daily podium was completed by Tom Van Asbroeck from Topsport-Vlaanderen.

- At the final km the road was slippery with some dangerous points. But we were able to pass it without problems. Before the final corner with 300 meters to go I was in a good position, but maybe not ideal. It was Nordhaug from Belkin who attacked, but Marco Haller helped me – he closed the gap and led me to the front. All I had to do – just to start my sprint, - added Alexander Kristoff.

- Today, our team was absolutely incredible. All riders did a perfect race and did their 100% for our common result. We had only one plan for today – to help Alexander Kristoff to take the win. And we did it. It was not easy at all to control the race with only 6 riders in the roster, but Katusha managed to get the success, - said sports director of Team Katusha Torsten Schmidt.

Unfortunately, Katusha’s Petr Ignatenko crashed badly inside the final kilometer, getting a serious injury of his right shoulder. He was able to finish the stage, but afterwards was immediately taken to the hospital for checking.

Alexander Kristoff became the leader of the general classification of the Tour of Norway as well as the leader of the point’s classification.

Today’s success of Alexander became the 7th victory of Team Katusha in 2014.