Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange-Jayco) took out a close bunch sprint on stage 2 of the Arctic Race of Norway, hitting out early and holding off Amaury Capiot (Arkéa Samsic) and a late-surging Edvald Boasson Hagen (TotalEnergies) in Brønnøysund.
The soggy stage saw no change to the top of the overall standings, with stage 1 winner Axel Zingle (Cofidis) finishing in the bunch to keep the yellow jersey with five seconds on Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies). With the bonus seconds for second on the stage, Capiot moved into third in the general classification, nudging Astana trainee Gleb Syritsa into fourth.
It was Groenewegen's seventh victory since joining the Australian team and even without his usual train, the BikeExchange-Jayco squad lined out the sprint and delivered the Dutchman to an ideal position to take the win.
"It's not the normal lead-out train, we are also with general classification riders but they did an amazing job," Groenewegen said. "It looked like a real lead-out train with Schultzy on the end to bring me in position. I started my sprint really early but I think it was enough. It's a nice win for me and for the team. Yesterday was a hard day. We're also good in the classification and now we have a stage win."
It was another rainy day in Norway for the 154km stage from Mosjøen to Brønnøysund.
Stephen Bassett (Human Powered Health), Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Johan Ravnøy (Team COOP), Liam Johnston (Trinity Racing) and Iker Mintegui (Euskaltel Euskadi) made up the early breakaway, with Bassett aiming at adding to his mountains classification lead.
Van Poucke won the intermediate sprint at kilometre 19.5 while Bassett followed the Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise rider over the summit at Laksforsen. Johnston, the only rider from the breakaway to finish in the main chasing group on stage 1, spent some time in the 'virtual yellow' but with a sprint finale on the menu there would be no chance for the Trinity rider to take the lead.
Van Poucke led over the next climb at Tosen to come one point closer to the mountains lead. The breakaway only gained a few minutes but began to come apart, with Mintegui dropped on a steep uncategorized climb with 59km to go.
The gap to the breakaway came down steadily and, inside 20km to go, it was under a minute. When Bassett looked behind and saw the peloton coming, he sat up and dropped back, while the remaining trio kept forging ahead until the peloton swept past before the second intermediate sprint.
Sven Erik Bystrøm (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) attacked out of the bunch to take the sprint bonus, and although Zingle jumped to try to take second, he was nearly pipped by Burgaudeau.
A flurry of attacks failed to interfere with the bunch sprint, and although Intermarché staged a well-oiled lead out, it was too early and the neon yellow team got washed away as Groenewegen opened up his powerful sprint.
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