Entradas

Ben Hermans seals overall victory in Arctic Race of Norway

Israel Start-Up Nation took its 14th victory of the season as Ben Hermans secured the overall win in Arctic Race of Norway after a nail-biting finish on the final day.

Starting out the stage with a gap of just four seconds down to the second place, nothing was settled before the riders would cross the finishing line for the final time in Harstad.

Early on the stage, a strong group of riders managed to distance the peloton and that scenario suited the ISN riders perfectly. With a breakaway up the road, the bonus seconds – which could put Hermans’ overall lead in jeopardy – would be taken out of the equation.

The main priority was to keep the overall lead and the team made sure to keep Hermans in a good position throughout the entire the stage.

As the peloton took on the last ascent towards the finishing line, it was certain that the break would make it all the way and take the bonus seconds. Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché – Wanty), who was second in the GC, attacked on the final part but Hermans dug deep to stay with the other favorites to ultimately seal the overall victory with a margin of just two seconds.

Today’s victory is also the first overall stage race win for Israel Start-Up Nation this season.

Ben Hermans: ”The last 500 meters were very steep and explosive and that’s not really my specialty but I still managed to finish at the front. It was a close call though. I expected that Eiking would attack at the end but I thought I could follow him. However, he went hard and I started to panic a little when he got a small gap. I was nervous after crossing the line until I got the confirmation. I’m really happy for my teammates. They all did such a good job again today. I’m so happy that all their hard work wasn’t for nothing.”

Sports director, Nicki Sørensen: “It went all the way down to the wire today. We knew that the other teams would need to put us under pressure early in the stage if they wanted to move up in the GC and they really tried to do so on the long climb at the beginning. However, our guys were ready and they did very well to close down all the dangerous moves.

 “In the end, the breakaway made it and that was really good for us as Eiking had a good day and won the sprint in the group of favorites and took two seconds back on Ben. It was a close one but that also just makes the victory even sweeter.”

— MC to israelcyclingacademy.com

Hermans storms to victory on stage 3 of Arctic Race of Norway

Israel Start-Up Nation’s Ben Hermans took both the victory and the overall lead of Arctic Race of Norway after an impressive show of strength on the uphill finish on stage 3.

Having already have won on the challenging climb to Målselv in 2015, Hermans knew exactly how to approach Saturday’s queen stage and his ISN teammates made sure to put him in the best possible position to repeat the victorious performance from the past.

After catching the early breakaway on the final climb, ISN did an impeccable job to set up Hermans for glory. As agreed upon at the team meeting before the stage, Rick Zabel, Tom Van Asbroeck and Sebastian Berwick all hit the front in the final kilometers before Hermans took over the show and sprinted to victory.

With today’s win, Hermans is also the new leader of the race before tomorrow’s final stage from Gratangen to Harstad. However, with a gap of just four seconds down to second place, nothing is settled yet. It will require another strong performance by the ISN guys to secure the overall win.

Ben Hermans: “The breakaway was always under control so I had all five guys to help position me in to the final climb. I asked the guys to go full in order to tire out everybody else while I would just keep my own tempo. They did that perfectly. Rick went super-fast and Tom accelerated even more before Sebastian attacked. All the favorites I was a little scared off followed him but I never panicked. Seb really killed them with that move with two kilometers to go.

When I came back to the front I attacked right away. At the end, when I saw that they couldn’t attack me anymore, I knew they were finished and I thought it would be best to go for a long sprint. I was actually surprised that there was still someone, Eiking, who came up on my side but I managed to hold him off to take the win.

It would have been better to win with a bigger margin so the bonus seconds wouldn’t be in play tomorrow. Now, we have to be really attentive but luckily we also have some good sprinters who can go for the bonus seconds. It will definitely be another interesting stage and I hope to have a good day again tomorrow!”

— MC to israelcyclingacademy.com

Good teamwork on stage 1 of Arctic Race of Norway

Israel Start-Up Nation showed great team spirit on the opening stage of Arctic Race of Norway, making sure to keep Ben Hermans near the front and in the fight for the GC.

Early on the stage, a small group of riders got away. Determined not to give the escapees any chances, the ISN guys contributed to the chase, keeping the breakaway in check. Guy Sagiv put on an impressive performance in the stunning scenery setting the pace in the pack.

On the final lap in Tromsø, it all came back together again, leaving the pre-race favorites to fight for the stage win. Hermans did well to stay in contention, finishing in the group of GC riders just two seconds after the lone winner.

— MC to israelcyclingacademy.com