The Tour of Norway is only five years old but already is attracting a lot of Nordic riders away from the Giro d’Italia, but it was favorite son Alexander Kristoff that wowed his home crowd
There are very few feelings that can match the adulation and joy of being victorious after lengthy physical exertion. The sheer relief, the absolute delight, all accompanied by the roar of an appreciative crowd and certain plaudits of your peers, it must be quite overwhelming. It is a sensation that those who like to bet on sports in Norway must know only too well that one man has every right to enjoy this week. That man? Alexander Kristoff the winner of the first stage of the Tour of Norway.
Now if you’ve not heard of the Tour of Norway don’t worry about it too much, it’s only been around since 2011, replacing the stage race Ringerike GP, which has now transformed into a one day event, and so this is only the fifth time they’ve run it. Notably a native of Norway has won twice thus far, and indeed it is that victor, Edvald Boasson Hagen, and fellow professional cyclist Thor Hushovd that helped create the Tour of Norway by being responsible for a dramatic upsurge in cycling’s popularity.
These two giants of the sport, and their great performances, lifted the level of public participation in both cycling itself and the watching of cycling events, and the development of the five day tour successfully built on the back of this publicity. This is just part of the process by which the entire cycling world attempts to replicate the famed races of old, and, entirely blatantly, try to have some of the glamor and excitement of the Tour De France rub off on their event just by having a similar name.
”It Was A Close One.” – Kristoff
Norwegian gambling laws being what they are the chances are a fair few of Kristoff’s fellow countrymen have been using sport betting sites that accept paypal to back cycling’s man in form, something that is only likely to have been expanded as he rolled across the finish line in Sarpsborg just taking that all important final sprint from Caleb Ewan and the famed Edvald Boasson Hagen in front of a massive crowd that had turned out on a particularly sunny day to watch their favorites battle it out.
Norwegian Wins In Norway
• Kristoff takes first stage win
• Katusha rider wins sprint finish
• All eyes look ahead to Tour de France
“It’s great to win at home and that’s what I’m here to do.” Said Kristoff at the end of day one in the well practiced manner of someone who has had to sit through public & media relations lessons of the variety that sponsors demand and which completely takes the character out of every sport they touch, “So I’m very happy to win the first stage. It was a very strong break and I had to put all of my guys on the front to pull and we were barely able to catch them – it was a close one.”
Of course Kristoff is fresh back from a month and a half off, having done so well in the earlier part of the season, taking the win in the Tour of Flanders, with top ten finishes in a plethora of other races including the Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo, both of which are part of the “spring classics”, and he seems to have rested up well and not lost his form over the course of his break, something which has happened before in the top tier of cycling, becoming a fear of many riders.
Kristoff “Somewhat Nervous”
“Even after taking a rest I knew after a good training period that I could still win.” Kristoff says confidently having probably been anything but going into the start of that first stage, in front of so many fellow Norwegians and indeed the man himself admits, “I felt a little heavy today and I started a bit too far back in the sprint so I wasn’t too sure how it would go and was somewhat nervous.”
Given how close that slightly uphill sprint was at the end of the first stage probably rightfully so.
Now of course you might be a tad surprised that the Tour of Norway so obviously clashes with the far more famous Giro d’Italia currently just over half way done, but one shouldn’t been too shocked that Kristoff and Co. forewent the Italian race perhaps gambling news reports of a victory at home would boost their standings more than a place finish in Italy, as every team and rider in the world finds the allure of the all important Tour De France beginning to warp the world around them.
Of course as ComeOn! Sportsbook makes clear with its odds on the big race in France, Kristoff might not be in with much of a shout, the current favorite on 3.10 is Chris Froome, with Nairo Quintana on 3.30, Alberto Contador on 3.75 and Vincenzo Nibali at 4.80. After that it becomes a bit of a list of also rans, but an each way bet on any of those four has a very good chance of earning, so why not take some interest in the cycling races in the next few weeks to see who you should bet on when the Tour de France kicks off in Holland (just don’t ask) at the start of July.