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by Shane Stokes
March 18, 2017
In today’s Daily News Digest: Halvorsen wins Handzame Classic in bunch sprint; Candid Kittel: German sprinter opens up about Milan-San Remo non-selection, Cavendish; Injured Gaviria still in line for San Remo ride, Boonen hopes Colombian will shine; Cycling Anti Doping Foundation looking into Edmondston/Team Sky matter; Greipel bypasses Milan-San Remo to be ready for Northern Classics; Bennett pledges backing for Sagan: ‘A win for Bora-hasgrohe on the Via Roma would be amazing’; Girdlestone’s recovery continues to exceed expectations; BMC Racing Team names Van Garderen as Catalunya captain; Cycling statistics – discover the tallest, shortest, lightest and heaviest riders in the WorldTour peloton; Crowdfunding campaign for cycling craft beer exceeds expectations; Greg van Avermaet – Winner
Months after he took the gold medal in the world under 23 road race championship, Kristoffer Halvorsen (Joker Icopal) raced to victory in Friday’s Handzame Classic in Belgium.
The 20-year-old Norwegian beat Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport) and Kenny Dehaes (Team Wanty Groupe – Gobert) to the line in what was a bunch gallop.
“It was really hard,” he said in the TV interview afterwards.” My legs were really bad in the end. It was a really, really hard day all day with the crosswind. The team did a really good job and I am so proud of them.”
He shrugged off mention of his age, saying that both he and Joker Icopal don’t fear taking on older riders and bigger teams. “All of them have just two legs. We are a Continental team on the paper but they [his teammates] are so strong.”
The Aqua Blue squad is still searching for its first win and did much of the work in the finale. However Halvorsen was better placed as the sprint opened and while Blythe appeared to close in somewhat, he ran out of time. He said afterwards that if the sprint had been longer, he believes he would have won.
The race featured a strong break by Iljo Keisse (Quick-Step Floors), Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Mads Würtz Schmidt (Katusha-Alpecin), Alex Kirsch (WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect), Jonas Koch (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) and Timothy Stevens (Pauwels sauzen-Vastgoedservice), but these were hauled back inside the final 40 kilometres.
Other attempts to get and stay clear were unsuccessful, setting things up for the bunch gallop to the line.