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Alexander Kristoff took Norway's first cycling medal since 1984.
First cycling medal since Dag Otto Lauritzen in Los Angeles
Alexander Kristoff (Norway) won Norway's first Olympic cycling medal since Dag Otto Lauritzen's bronze in 1984, as he finished in third place in London on Saturday.
Kristoff, 25, formed part of the early break in the men's road race, escaping in a 12-man move before the first climb of Box Hill. It looked as though the Norwegians were setting an early marker for their leader Edvald Boasson Hagen but Kristoff was later joined by Norway's third teammate Lars Petter Nordhaug when the lead group swelled to 33 riders.
"I didn't expect to get the medal. My job was to help Edvald if he came to the front. I would try to go in the early breaks but at the end he was not there and I could go for my own chance. I felt good in the sprint so it was a little bit of a shame it wasn't for first place, but of course a medal is great," Kristoff said at the finish.
Kristoff's medal ride was all the more impressive as not only was he the only rider from the original break to make the podium, but he was dropped on one of the final ascents of Box Hill.
"On the second last lap of Box Hill I was dropped from the group, but I managed to make it back on with some other guys and on the last lap I managed to stay on. I was suffering every time but I was lucky."
With Vinokurov and Uran escaping from the break and set to fight out the battle for gold and silver, the competition behind turned towards the bronze medal. Kristoff, who races for Katusha, came through to snatch the final podium spot.
"We were getting time checks and when I saw it was one minute and we were holding that gap then I knew this was the final group. After Box Hill I was only thinking about my sprint - maybe too much. I was not following any moves, but if I was following the moves maybe I would have no medal at all."