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While his Rally Cycling teammates are racing on home turf in the Colorado Classic, American Colin Joyce is sprinting to the biggest win of his career Friday at the Arctic Race of Norway.
“Man this one is really special — biggest win of my career,” he said. “First big one in Europe. The team was amazing. Wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for them.”
The 24-year-old beat Dennis van Winden (Israel Cycling Academy) in an 11-man kick to the line at the end of the 195km stage. Local rider Markus Hoelgaard (Joker Icopal) was third. With the win, Joyce moved into second overall in the four-day race, four seconds behind Astana’s Sergei Chernetski.
The Arctic Race of Norway is categorized as a UCI 2.HC race and has four WorldTour teams racing this year.
Rally’s day was made easier by Joyce’s teammate Ryan Anderson, who made the early breakaway.
After surviving the crosswinds that ripped apart the peloton, Joyce rode up to a select group of favorites on the stage’s final climb, Hopseidet summit.
“It was such a hard hectic day,” Joyce added. “So windy and it was exploding. Had a lot of help from all the guys throughout the whole day.”
Jakob Fuglsang had provoked an attack on the last climb with his teammate Chernetski, as well as BMC’s Alberto Bettiol. Their trio survived until the final kilometer before Joyce’s group caught them to sprint for the win.
“I had to do a huge bridge on the last KOM up to the group Robin [Carpenter] was in,” Joyce said. “I was going crosseyed. Legs felt fried the next 40k, but everyone was tired.”
Friday was the first time an American has finished top-10 at a stage in the Arctic Race of Norway.
Joyce may be able to hold his GC position Saturday as stage 3 from Honningsvåg to Hammerfest is predominantly flat over 194km. The race wraps up Sunday with a 145.5km stage that finishes with a hilly four-lap circuit in Alta.