Aidis Kruopis sprinted to victory on the third stage of the Glava Tour of Norway. Baden Cooke, Orica GreenEDGE’s designated sprinter in Elverum, finished in fifth.
“Today we were working for Baden, so I was doing what I needed to do for him in the final kilometer,” said Kruopis. “We took the last two corners quite fast. We came out of the final corner with a 400 meter straight, flat run-in towards the line. I wanted to lead Baden out, but he was a bit boxed in. I saw that I was close to [Edvald] Boasson Hagen (Sky Procycling), so I took a chance sprinting for myself.”
“With 750 meters left, we had a tight right-hand bend to negotiate,” added Sports Director Laurenzo Lapage. “The right-hand turn was followed by a narrow left-hand corner 450 meters from the finish. The team brought Aidis and Baden to the final corner in perfect position. It was great teamwork.”
The stage unfolded predictably with a five-rider move darting up the road early on in the day. With Alessandro Pettachi in the leader’s jersey, Lampre-ISD assumed control for the chase, giving the break no more than three minutes.
“We have seen that Lampre and Sky are content to control the race,” said Lapage. “Lampre had Petacchi’s lead to protect, so we were confident they would chase. For us, we were focused on putting our sprinter in a good position at the key moment of the race, and that’s exactly what we did.”
The final survivor from the break rejoined the peloton six kilometers from the finish as Orica-GreenEDGE prepared for the bunch kick.
“The plan had been to ride for Baden with Aidis as the final lead out man,” said Lapage. “The sprint today was nervous and hectic because of the narrow roads and tight turns. Aidis came into the finishing straight in a good position whereas Baden was a caught out a bit. It was quick thinking on his part to take an opportunity for himself.”
Kruopis won over Boasson Hagen and Jonas Ahlstrand (Team Cykelcity). Ahlstrand regained the leader’s jersey he had lost to Petacchi yesterday thanks to bonus seconds for the top-three stage finishers.