Norway has four cyclists in this year’s Tour de France but none is expected to win. The best among them also got off to a rough start when the race began over the weekend.
Edvald Boasson Hagen got caught in a major crash during the opening race, leaving him bloody and banged up but still fit to ride. “I could move everything,” Hagen told newspaper Aftenposten, referring to his arms and legs after Saturday’s collision near Utah Beach that threw him to the ground not far from the finish line. “It would take a lot for me not to be ready again on Sunday.”
And he was, while the same collision sent fellow Norwegian Alexander Kristoff’s most important helper Michael Mørkøv to the hospital. Kristoff went on to be disappointed with the next two stages of the race, and wound up trapped on Monday, finishing 11th. “First there was someone who crashed right in front of me in a swing, then I lost position and had to use a lot of strength to regain it,” Kristoff said. “Then I almost collided with my own teammate (Katusha of Russia) and then I didn’t have much left to give.”
The third lap was won by Mark Cavendish, his second victory so far. Norway’s newcomers to the Tour de France, meanwhile, have been doing relatively well. Sondre Holst Enger from Horten was the best of the Norwegians on Monday, finishing in sixth place, while Vegard Breen was near victory on Sunday but then fell back.
Norway as a cycling nation, said the coach of the country’s national cycling team, is still “too young” to have talent enough to win the overall Tour de France. The main goal, even for veterans like the recently retired Thor Hushovd, is to win stages of the race. Kristoff was celebrating his 29th birthday on his bike on Tuesday, with a victory being his best possible birthday gift.