Evenepoel earns trifecta at Tour of Norway with stage 5 victory

Tour of Norway 2022 - 11th Edition - 5th stage Flekkefjord - Sandnes 181,7 km - 28/05/2022 - Remco Evenepoel (BEL - Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) - photo Szymon Gruchalski/CV/SprintCyclingAgency©2022
Remco Evenepoel has won three stages at the Tour of Norway (Image credit: Szymon Gruchalski/CV/SprintCyclingAgency)

Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) strengthened his overall lead with a sprint victory on stage 5 of the Tour of Norway, his third stage win in five days.

The three riders closest to the Belgian in the GC battle finished in the five-rider bunch sprint to gain any bonus seconds remaining, Tobias Johannessen (Uno-X Pro Cycling) taking second and Luke Plapp finishing third. Jay Vine, second overall in GC, was fourth. 

Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost), who made a solo attack after the main KOM of the day, was caught with 2km to go, but quickly accelerated again to finish fifth. 

With his third victory, Evenepoel extended his GC lead over Vine another 10 seconds, now a 56-second advantage with one day remaining. Plapp is 1:30 back in third while Johannessen tightened his margin for a place on the podium by gaining two seconds on Plapp, and he is 1:34 off the GC lead.

A large group of 21 riders made separation early in the 181.7km route from the start in Hovden. From that bunch, Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost) went on the attack on the first climb of the category 2 Oltedal, with the final circuit approaching. At the first pass of the finish line on the circuits, the rest of the breakaway was caught by the peloton, but Healy pressed on. The Irishman opened a gap of 1:33 with 23km to go. 

The chase behind ramped up due to Uno-X, Ineos Grenadiers and QuickStep-AlphaVinyl, and Healy's quest for a stage win melted over the top of the final climb of  the last lap of the undulating local circuit in Sandnes, when Evenepoel passed the Irishman. The Belgian went on to the sprint victory. 

“It was a tricky day because of the strong headwind. We didn’t initially focus on the stage win, but on being in the breakaway, because we knew that a huge group would go away. Behind, Josef [Cerny] was amazing in the headwind, he was super strong, and deserves an extra cake at dinner this evening," Evenepoel said.

"On the local circuit, we rode away from the peloton, there was a small group and we pressed on so that the chasers wouldn’t bridge across. Coming out of the last corner, I just launched my sprint and I can tell you I was surprised to take the victory this way. It feels different to win like this, and I’m content with the way things panned out today and with having the orange jersey on my shoulders with only one stage to go."

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