Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) edged Giant-Alpecin's John Degenkolb in a photo finish to take the opening stage at the Arctic Race of Norway Thursday in Rognan. The 180.5km opener started in Fauske and took riders over a first-category climb that crested 18km from the line.
A breakaway of seven riders that included Andreas Schillinger (Bora-Argon 18), Krister Hagen (Coop-Oster Hus), Maxime Cam (Fortuneo-Vital Concept), Tom Van Asbroeck (LottoNL-Jumbo), Gregory Rast (Trek-Segafredo), Kenny de Ketele (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Max Emil Boholm Korner (Ringeriks–Kraft) animated the day's racing, with Schillinger the last survivor to hold off the peloton.
It was not to be, however, as the group pulled back the Bora rider in time to set up the sprint finish. Degenkolb lit out first and looked to be on the way to his first win of the season, but a mechanical problem with his gears allowed Kristoff to swing past at the line. Degenkolb held on for second, followed by Team Sky's Danny Van Poppel.
The 2016 Arctic Race of Norway continues Friday with the 198km stage 2 route from Mo I Rana to Sandnessjøen.