Israel – Premier Tech’s Carl Fredrik Hagen put on an impressive performance on stage 2 of Tour of the Alps, giving his all to be in the mix for the stage win.
Already at the team meeting in the bus before the start, Hagen put his hand in the air, saying he was eager to get up the road to fight for success. The challenging climb Passo Rolle was the first struggle for the riders to overcome today and it didn’t take long before Hagen put in his first attack.
“After the first attacks, I saw there was a moment of stillstand in the peloton, so I decided to give it a go”, Hagen explained after the stage. “Initially, only one rider could follow but then the strong group of 10 riders joined us. However, they went so fast in that group and I thought it was smarter not to go over my limit and just keep my own pace.”
Determined not to miss out on the action, Hagen took on a courageous solo chase for more than 30 km, which ultimately saw the 30-year-old Norwegian bridge across to the front group.
“It took a lot of energy out of me to close that gap all by myself. I was battling a headwind for the majority of the time and as it was slightly downhill as well, it was really difficult to bridge across. However, I was feeling pretty good today and I was happy to be out there.”
Despite initially letting the breakaway get a gap of nearly four minutes, the peloton was not interested in letting the stage win slip away. After a long and hard chase, it all came back together on the last descent towards the finish. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain – Victorious) won the stage in a sprint, while Hagen crossed the line a few minutes later after suffering an ill-timed bike change towards the finish, which saw him lost contact with the front group.
“I really gave it my all today and I think I can be satisfied with the performance. With all the sickness I have had this year and my injury last year, I feel like I’m finally back on the right track. I’m still far from my best level but it was really nice to be up there with all those good riders today. I can take a lot of positive things from this stage and I’m ready to fight again the next days. If you never try, you never win.”