Tour des Fjords: Caruso Fourth After Chaotic Finish to Stage 131. August 2016, Bergen (NOR) — Road Team
Joey Rosskopf battled the elements at the front of the race on Tour des Fjords Stage 1 as part of the day's breakaway before a hectic finish saw Damiano Caruso finish fourth behind stage winner and new race leader, Leigh Howard (IAM Cycling).
While a crash just three kilometers into Stage 1 unsettled the rhythm of the race, it took less than an hour for Rosskopf and the four-rider breakaway to extend a solid lead over the peloton which reached a maximum of four minutes.
It looked like the peloton was going to close the gap with 90 kilometers to go as they came within 1 minute 30 seconds of the breakaway but their advantage rose again to 2 minutes 30 seconds before they were finally caught with 18 kilometers to go.
The day's stage win then looked set to be decided by the previously predicted bunch sprint but it was not meant to be as a fork in the road saw the peloton split with a three riders able to attack with 15 kilometers to go.
The peloton were chasing hard and despite having the the remaining two leaders in their sight, Howard and Jesper Asselman (Roompot Orange Peloton) were able to stay out in front to finish first and second respectively.
The stage was not without a sprint for the line but this time it was a battle for the final place on the rostrum with Damiano Caruso crossing the line in fourth place.
Alessandro De Marchi was forced to stop racing on Stage 1 due to illness. A medical update is provided below
Quotes from the Finish Line
Damiano Caruso said:
"It was quite a nervous and hectic finale on today's first stage in Norway. We rode the last 20 kilometers on the 2017 World Championships parcours and unfortunately at one point the peloton got sent the wrong way. There was a lot of confusion and some riders from the back of the bunch attacked. By the time we had an overview of the situation, it was too late to catch them. In the end, I did a good sprint and was able to get fourth place."
Joey Rosskopf said:
"I was feeling pretty good today and I was able to force the break on the first climb. I was hoping it would be a bigger group as it was always going to be hard to stay out in front with just four riders. I was happy to be able to make that move and I think doing something like that on the first day of the race can be good for my confidence and with the wind, the rain and the cold weather it was a relatively good day to be out in front as we were staying safe and warm!."
Sports Director Yvon Ledanois said:
"We knew that we needed to try something today and force a breakaway as with time bonused on the line it is the perfect race for the sprinters' team. For us it is a bit more complicated especially as we unforutnayely lost De Marchi to illness today."
"With the peloton you never know what can happen but Caruso showed he had good legs at the end as was able to get a good result despite the chaos. Rosskopf also showed strong form in the break today. We were riding aggresively as we need to do everyday and I trust that the guys here will do that."
Alessandro De Marchi - Medical Update
BMC Racing Team Dr. Dario Spinelli said:
"De Marchi was experiencing some gastrointestinal problem over the first hour of racing today and it was in his best interest to stop racing. We will see how it evolves however I think that after a few days rest he will be able to resume with his current race schedule."
Tour des Fjords
Stage 1: Oss - Bergen, 140km
Top 3: 1. Leigh Howard (IAM Cycling) 2. Jesper Asselman (Roompot Orange Peloton) 3. August Jensen (Team Coop-Oster Hus)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 4. Damiano Caruso 13. Michael Schar 21. Joey Rosskopf