Per Strand Hagenes has won the queen stage of the 4 Jours du Dunkerque. The 19-year-old Norwegian, who normally rides for the Jumbo-Visma Development Team, was the strongest in a sprint-à-deux in Cassel.
The 188-kilometre stage lived up to its moniker as the queen stage, beginning at the Roubaix circuit and finishing at the top of the Rue de Tambour in Cassel. The highlight was the same Rue de Tambour, which was climbed no less than seven times today.
Seven riders attacked, but none of them came close to winning. Just before the final kilometre, Frenchman Romain Grégoire made a move and was joined by Hagenes. The two stayed away from the peloton and sprinted to the line. Strand Hagenes proved to be the strongest. With his victory, Strand Hagenes is now eighth in the general classification. Olav Kooij came in eight and holds onto third place in the overall standings while also donning the points jersey.
“Winning a race is always a great feeling”, said Strand Hagenes. “We were in a good position on the last local lap. I knew I had to follow Grégoire as soon as he attacked. Luckily I was able to do that. He gave everything for his position in the general classification. On the finish straight, I just kept going. I don’t even feel like I’m at my best. Things are going better than expected for our team here in France.”
Kooij’s main focus was to keep up with his main rivals. “I wanted to maintain my good position in the GC. I managed to do that, although it’s unfortunate that Gregoire gained time. We knew that Per had a chance today. When I saw him at the front, I knew he would finish it off. We are still in a good position in the overall standings, but I am afraid that trailing seventeen seconds behind is too much for having a decent chance of winning the GC. But we’re not giving up. With three stage wins, we can already reflect on a successful week”, Kooij said after stage five.
The victory on the queen stage of the 4 Jours du Dunkerque is Hagenes’ third victory of the season. It brings the total number of victories for Team Jumbo-Visma to 27.