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Winner of Le Samyn in March, Norsgaard started this race with hopes of victories but has not been able to match back-to-back stage winner Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM).
“I’m coming for wins, so it’s a little bit disappointing,” Norsgaard said after stage 2. “But it’s still a podium, so it’s fine.”
Despite the climbs in the final circuits, the inclines did not get in the way of another bunch finish on the second stage.
“[The climbs] were fine, they’re not so long,” Norsgaard said. “The roads around here are up and down, it’s nice. I like this type of racing.”
Riders like Norsgaard, Marta Bastianelli (UAE Team ADQ) and Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) were hoping the short, steep climbs on stage 1 and 2 would give them an advantage over purer sprinter Wiebes, but the tougher roads have proved no issue for the Dutch rider.
Wiebes recorded her sixth victory of the season on Saturday, and leads the overall by an almost unassailable 27 seconds going into the final stage after also dominating the sprints for bonus seconds.
“It’s everything,” Norsgaard suggested as what it is that makes Wiebes so unbeatable. “They have a great team and Lorena is just unreal, especially this year. She is super strong on the hills, and so fast in the sprints, so it’s hard to be against her.”
Balsamo has been the closest rival to Wiebes this season, but was out of position on the finish of stage 2, finishing in 16th.
Though there’s one more chance for victory on stage 3, both Norsgaard and second-placed Bastianelli conceded the fast and technical circuit race was not best suited to their abilities.
“Tomorrow is a hard stage, because it will be much faster,” Bastianelli said.
“I like it better when it’s more hilly, so maybe tomorrow is not 100% my stage,” Norsgaard said. “But we will still go for it.”