Nearly 400,000 Norwegians watched last weekend’s Tour of Norway cycling race on TV, even though a Dane ended up knocking off the two top-rated Norwegian cyclists, Alexander Kristoff and Edvald Boasson Hagen. Sponsors nonetheless seemed satisfied.
Kristoff won the first two stages of the race, which rolled through southeastern Norway and then along the southern coast from Drammen to Langesund. He didn’t do nearly as well in the third stage, from Skien up through the mountains of Telemark to Rjukan, and it was won by Jesper Hansen of Denmark. Hagen came in second and Kristoff, who candidly admitted that mountain climbing isn’t his thing, was 11th.
Then came another lap through the mountains, from Rjukan to Geilo, and those 167 kilometers were won by Amets Txurruka of Spain, with the fifth and final stage, from the mountains back down to Hønefoss, won by 23-year-old Andreas Vangstad of Norway in a surprising surge that shocked the world’s elite cyclists. Kristoff came in third.
“Fanastic, I didn’t think I’d manage,” the young Vangstad told TV2. Jesper Hansen of Denmark won the Tour of Norway overall, though, with Hagen coming in second and David Lopez Garcia of Spain third. Now they’re all looking ahead to the Tour de France this summer, with Kristoff remaining Norway’s best hope.