Race report

Incredible Team DSM display sees Andreas Leknessund take final stage and GC title at Arctic Race of Norway

Arctic Race of Norway

Photo Credit: ARN/Gautier Demouveaux

A deceptively hard day in the saddle and a parcours that begged to be attacked, Andreas Leknessund and Team DSM put on a masterclass of tactical cycling to win the final stage and overall title at Arctic Race of Norway today.

After yesterday’s queen stage and the summit finish, today’s parcours at the Arctic Race of Norway saw the peloton faced with constantly rolling terrain and a punchy closing circuit in Trondheim; which featured a two kilometre climb, a short plateau, fast descent and then a flat run to the line.

It was an incredibly fast and attacking start to the stage with the team incredibly active, with both Mark Donovan and Andreas Leknessund in moves that were brought back. Eventually after roughly 60 kilometres of action, Leknessund forced the gap and broke the elastic to the peloton, going clear alongside two other riders. Leknessund and his breakaway companions worked well together, building up their advantage to two minutes over the peloton where it held steady, as Leknessund was still a threat on GC as he started the stage just 36 seconds behind the leader.

Heading onto the finish circuit the gap had fallen to just over one minute so with 30 kilometres to go Leknessund stamped on the pedals and forged on solo. Putting his power to brilliant effect, Leknessund held onto his gap over the next lap before a counter attack went clear over the top of the following ascent, with Max Poole riding superbly to follow the move and police it.

Taking the bell inside eight kilometres to go, Leknessund led Poole’s chase group by 38 seconds, with the yellow jersey group one minute and nine seconds in arrears – where Donovan and Romain Combaud were also doing a brilliant job of controlling things. Over the last climb Poole’s chase group split up, with the youngster just having to let go of Conci’s wheel approaching the top of the ascent. It was an all-out battle to the line with Conci closing the gap to Leknessund down to just 15 seconds as they started the descent.

Giving everything he could to the finish with the chasers closing in, Leknessund crossed the line to take a brilliant win; eking out every second possible on that home stretch as the GC win was a possibility too. Raising his arms aloft in jubilation after the finish a nervous few minutes awaited before it was confirmed he would take home the GC title too. Behind, Poole finished a superb fourth from the chasing group – his first Pro level top five – after doing an incredible teammates job in the closing stages.

Photo Credit: ARN/Sigurd Salberg Pedersen

“I felt quite bad yesterday so today we agreed to see how the legs reacted and waited for the local laps,” explained a smiling Leknessund. “The attacks kept coming in the bunch though and as a team we decided to all participate in the moves and after a while the legs felt better and I went away with three guys. At first, I didn’t think that it would go to the line but my personal goal was to get a lap out front of the crowds and enjoy it. When I was out there alone I just went full-gas. I didn’t believe it would stay away until the last kilometre actually. I felt pretty tired and was expecting the guys to come really fast from behind, especially as the climb which was steep and hard. My teammates told me on the radio that everyone was suffering and that really motivated me. It’s really nice after yesterday. It’s like home race for me and it’s one that I watched since a small kid – it’s unbelievable to win the race overall, it’s quite emotional to be honest.”

Team DSM coach Phil West added: “What a nice day and way to win a bike race. We were a bit disappointed after yesterday’s stage so we knew we had some work to do but the upshot was that where we were positioned in GC meant we had some breathing room. We wanted to be aggressive in the race and be on the front foot and that the race day was a fast one. We knew that the finishing circuit was going to be critical because it the climb was tough and it was fast afterwards, which made it difficult to control and chase; so we wanted to create a bit of chaos. We played it so that Andreas could then make a move on that finishing circuit and then we just committed fully for it. It was also a really nice job from the guys in the group behind to cover things. It was a really nice team win today and credit to the guys who bounced back and really went for it, after a day before where we quite didn’t get it right yesterday. I’m proud of all their efforts.” 

Photo Credit: ARN/Gautier Demouveaux


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM 3:30:26 20
2 CONCI Nicola Alpecin-Deceuninck 0:16 10
3 ZINGLE Axel Cofidis 0:18 5
4 POOLE Max Team DSM ,, -
27 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM 0:46 -
42 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 1:52 -
98 BOL Cees Team DSM 10:25 -