UPDATED: Neither of the two Norwegians competing in this year’s Tour de France got off to a good start over the weekend. Both Alexander Kristoff and Edvald Boasson Hagen got caught behind some accidents and in a clinch, and couldn’t manage to break free.
Kristoff, cycling as captain this year of his Russian Team Katusha, ended up in 67th place on Saturday and in 54th place on Sunday, which ruined his 28th birthday celebration. “I’m disappointed,” he told reporters right after crossing the finish line. “I felt strong in my legs but there wasn’t much I could do. I sat in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Hagen, cycling for the South African team MTN-Qhubeka, was just as frustrated after finishing Saturday’s opening in 52nd place and Sunday’s race in 188th, fully five minutes and four seconds behind the winner, André Greipel of Germany. The 166 kilometer race from Utrecht to Zelande was full of bad luck and several crashes that held him up, including one of his own, from which he escaped uninjured.
Both were hoping for better performances in Monday’s third lap covering 159.5 kilometers from Antwerp to Mur de Huy. Kristoff was much farther ahead shortly after the start and therefore in better position than during the first two days. Both he and Hagen avoided getting involved in a massive collision during the lap, which resulted in four riders having to withdraw from the Tour de France. It was won by one of Kristoff’s teammates, Joaquim Rodriquez, and Kristoff said that “meant a log” for the team. Hagen finished 67th, Kristoff far behind him in 144th place.