Hermans Wins In Norway; Takes Overall Lead15. August 2015, Målselv (NOR) — Road Team
BMC Racing Team’s Ben Hermans won in impressive style Saturday at the Arctic Race of Norway to take the overall lead with a day of the race to go.
Hermans launched himself across the gap to join late-soloist Rein Taaramäe (Astana Pro Team) before making his own attack in the final 150 meters of the 183-kilometer race. He won by three seconds to take his third victory of the year.
"I was always 150 meters behind," Hermans said. "I knew there was a headwind at one-and-a-half kilometers to go and I could have jumped across. But I would have exploded myself. So I waited on the wheel of my teammates. In the last kilometer, it was a tailwind so I attacked full gas. Maybe I could have exploded with 250 meters to go, but I had to do it if I wanted to win."
Taaramäe moved into second overall, seven seconds behind Hermans. BMC Racing Team’s Silvan Dillier and Dylan Teuns finished fourth and fifth respectively, and moved into fourth and sixth overall. Dillier also took the lead in the "best young rider" standings.
Hermans, solo winner at both Brabantse Pijl and on the last stage at the Tour de Yorkshire, said it was amazing to win the mountain-top finish and ride into the overall lead.
"Of course I can win this race, I just need the same legs tomorrow," Hermans said. "I have a strong team, so normally we can control the race. We will still have to race, but I think a win is possible."
BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois, who was joined by former BMC Racing Team rider and 2013 Arctic Race of Norway winner Thor Hushovd in the team car for the day, said the strategy was "all in" for the last climb.
"I told the guys this morning to stay calm throughout the race and look to take risks in the last 40 kilometers," Ledanois said. "They trusted this tactic and thankfully it paid off. All the guys did a really good job. Campbell Flakemore did a super job during the last 50 kilometers. On the tough final climb, Floris Gerts and Tom Bohli, the younger riders on the roster, did a fantastic job supporting Hermans, Dillier and Teuns. I am very happy. It has has been a nice day for not only Ben, but also for the whole team."
Ledanois said Sunday's final stage, which includes three categorized climbs in 165 kilometers, is even more challenging.
"It is a very hard stage, but we are in a good place with three riders in the top six on the GC (general classification)," Ledanois said. "I trust these riders going into tomorrow. We have a strong team and I am hoping for another good win for us."