Rein Taaramäe (Astana) claimed the overall victory at the Arctic Race of Norway on Sunday as Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing Team) won the fourth and final stage.
Dillier out-kicked Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) for the stage win, but Taaramäe finished third on the day, two seconds behind, to snatch the blue-orange leader’s jersey from BMC’s Ben Hermans.
“I was surprised to drop Ben Hermans so easily,” said Taaramäe. “We didn’t even attack in the climb. The pace was not really high.
“I liked the course of the final circuit. There was almost no flat part, so I rode away because I thought the peloton wasn’t going to be able to catch us.”
Hermans assumed the overall lead on Saturday after winning stage 3 to Målselv. But in Sunday’s finale, a 165km stage around Narvik, he could manage only 18th, 1:36 down on the day’s winner, and he slipped to ninth overall.
Top 10, Stage 4
- 1. Silvan DILLIER, BMC RACING TEAM, in 3:35:18
- 2. Ilnur ZAKARIN, TEAM KATUSHA, at :00
- 3. Rein TAARAMAE, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at :02
- 4. Sven erik BYSTRØM, TEAM KATUSHA, at :40
- 5. Rasmus GULDHAMMER, CULT ENERGY PRO CYCLING, at :42
- 6. Antwan TOLHOEK, TINKOFF-SAXO, at :42
- 7. Odd Christian EIKING, TEAM JOKER, at :42
- 8. Anthony TURGIS, COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS, at :42
- 9. Mathias FRANK, IAM CYCLING, at :42
- 10. Edvald BOASSON HAGEN, MTN-QHUBEKA, at :42
Top 10, GC
- 1. Rein TAARAMAE, ASTANA PRO TEAM, in 16:42:02
- 2. Silvan DILLIER, BMC RACING TEAM, at :08
- 3. Ilnur ZAKARIN, TEAM KATUSHA, at :31
- 4. Edvald BOASSON HAGEN, MTN-QHUBEKA, at 1:02
- 5. Mathias FRANK, IAM CYCLING, at 1:04
- 6. Odd Christian EIKING, TEAM JOKER, at 1:17
- 7. Rasmus GULDHAMMER, CULT ENERGY PRO CYCLING, at 1:19
- 8. Anthony TURGIS, COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS, at 1:31
- 9. Ben HERMANS, BMC RACING TEAM, at 1:33
- 10. Marcel WYSS, IAM CYCLING, at 1:33
“In the final 30 kilometers, I think Ben had a problem with his bike, so I stayed in front to check the situation,” Dillier said. “First, both Astana and Katusha were pushing forward. But then Astana set a hard tempo and split the field. I just stayed on the wheel and hoped that Ben could get back. But then, at the end, I saw the chance to win the stage and I took it.”
Added Hermans: “There was something wrong with my bike, I am not sure what. I decided not to change bikes as I knew if I changed bikes I would lose the race for sure. When the attack went off at the top of the climb on the second lap, I was in a good position but I was not able to match their speed. I just had to ride tempo.”
In the end, Taaramäe came away with the title by eight seconds over Dillier with Zakarin third at 31 seconds.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to win the Arctic Race of Norway, firstly because it’s wonderful to win two stage races in two weeks, this one after the Tour of Burgos,” said Taaramäe.
“I feel like at home. I really want to come back here one day.”