Hermans wins Norway stage 3, takes GC lead

Ben Hermans climbs his way to Arctic Tour of Norway stage win, overall lead with one day remaining in race.

Photo: ARN/P.Ballet

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Ben Hermans earned his first win since Tour of Yorkshire stage 3 — over three months ago — at the Arctic Race of Norway Saturday and vaulted into the overall race lead. The BMC rider crossed the line three seconds ahead of Astana’s Rein Taaramäe in stage 3 to Målselv. Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) was third.

“I’ve finished already a lot of times second and third, so I didn’t want to lose again today,” Hermans said after the finish. “I went really, really deep — I’m really happy that I could take Taaramäe at the finish.

The man who started the day in the GC lead, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), slipped precipitously in the standings, losing 1:56 to Hermans. The 175km stage was a day better-suited for the climbers. The stage finished with a tough, 1,200-foot climb and had two categorized climbs earlier in the day.

The early break included Herman Dahl and Fridtjof Røinås (Sparebanken Sør), Marius Hafsås (FixIT.no), Håvard Blikra (Coop-Øster Hus), Jon Breivold (Frøy-Bianchi), and Chris Williams (Novo Nordisk). Though their gap went out to six minutes at one point, all were caught with eight kilometers left, prior to the 3.7km finishing climb.

With one stage remaining, Sunday’s 160km race, which starts and finishes in Narvik, Hermans holds a seven-second lead over Taaramäe. MTN-Qhubeka’s Edvald Boasson Hagen sits third, 24 seconds behind.

Dane Cash contributed to this report from Norway.

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