Faulkner takes top honors at Tour of Norway opener
August 12th, 2021
Kristen Faulkner took an exciting solo victory today at the opening stage of the Ladies Tour of Norway after holding off the approaching peloton by just inches. The win is her first at the World Tour level and the biggest result of her career thus far.
"Kristen managed to win by just a half a bike length," team director Rachel Hedderman said. "It was a fantastic win. I'm obviously super happy. We know how strong Kristen is, so to see that strength translated into a result is wonderful. We'll give it everything we have to defend her jersey over the next three stages."
Kristen Faulkner celebrates her first win at the World Tour level. Photo/Anton Vos
The breakaway established itself soon after the 141km stage started. Faulkner eventually bridged across to the group of five, which built a maximum lead of four minutes.
When the leaders hit the finishing circuit with 30km to go, the gap hovered around 90 seconds. With two and a half laps to go, Faulkner attacked and continued her quest for victory on her own.
Faulkner's nail-bitingly close gap ebbed and flowed from 10 to 30 seconds and back as she fought tooth and nail to hold on for her first World Tour victory.
Faulkner takes first place and the GC lead after the Tour of Norway's opening stage. Photo/Anton Vos
"Today was an incredibly special win, a true team effort," Faulkner said. "Rachel wanted us to get in a break, and Eri (Yonamine) and Diana (Peñuela) helped me cover many of the early breaks. After several attacks in the group, Nina (Kessler) told me to wait until the peloton let a break get small gap and then bridge across. That was really great advice, because I didn't burn too many matches covering all the attacks.
"Tanja (Erath) was the one who told me to go when I finally bridged across," Faulkner continued. "Once I was in the break, I had complete faith in my teammates Nina and Tanja to take the sprint finish if it came down to that, and that enabled me to take a risk and attack in the end. Having full trust in my teammates was really what made the difference. It was an amazing win, and I am excited to see what we can do together in the next three stages.
Faulkner starts tomorrow's stage with a four-second advantage on second place on the general classification. Similar to stage 1, tomorrow's stage will be 141.6km starting in Askim. The route takes the riders over moderate terrain before they approach the finish town of Mysenm and a gradual uphill rise to the line.
The Ladies Tour of Norway is available to stream on GCN Plus in all countries except Norway. Check the website for your local listing and updated broadcast times.