Tour of Norway: Ben Tulett wins prologue to capture first leader's jersey
Ben Tulett (Ineos Grenadiers) won the uphill prologue to Mount Fløyen and took the first leader’s jersey of the Tour of Norway. His time of 14:28 was one second better than Ineos teammate Magnus Sheffield, who took second.
The Ineos duo completed rides among the first half of the 113-rider field, and only Hungarian road race national champion Attila Valter (Jumbo-Visma) made a significant move on the stiff uphill climb during the second half of the contest. He took third place, 20 seconds back from Tulett.
It was the second career victory for Tulett, who won stage 3 over a year ago at Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali as a 20-year-old. “Yeah, really hard” is how he described the effort.
“We knew it was going to make for a really hard time trial today, so it meant that the execution had to be really crucial. We came yesterday to look at the course, and we identified pretty quickly that it was going to be really tough. I am happy with my performance, so far,” Tulett said. “Yeah, we rode on road bikes, but it was quite fun. It looks like it’s going to be a hard week of racing.”
The opening 7.4km time trial began in Bergen with a flat stretch, using the city streets of Bryggen to Sandvikstorget and back to Bryggen before taking the urban switchbacks that led to the final 3.5km ascent of Mount Fløyen, with an average gradient of 8.8%.
The first rider to start was Simen Evertsen-Hegreberg (Team Norway) at 17:30. His mark of 15:50 set the stage and it wasn’t long until Alexander Kamp (Tudor Pro Cycling) took over in the hot seat with a time of 15:00.
Rune Herregodts (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) was the first rider to go under 15 minutes, one second faster than Kamp, and he was bumped out of the top spot by Norwegian Ådne Holter (Uno-X Pro Cycling), who posted 14:55.
Sheffield blistered the climbing section in nine-and-a-half minutes and crested the top of the climb with a new best time of 14:29. The 21-year-old North American held the lead as 18 more contenders completed their rides, including Thibau Nys (Trek-Segafredo), who was one of the few to go under the 15-minute mark by two seconds, putting him in the top five.
Sheffield was displaced when Ineos teammate Tulett eclipsed his mark by just one second, giving the Ineos pair the top two positions with the second half of the field to take the course. Holter held on to his podium spot as well.
2019 champion Alexander Kristoff (Uno-X Pro Cycling) generated applause from the Norwegian crowds, but lost over a minute and a half to Tulett by the time he completed the course. Two riders behind the Norwegian, Mathias Vacek (Trek-Segafredo) had a solid ride of 14:56, putting him in the top five just ahead of teammate Nys.
Second-to-last rider on the course was Josh Tarling (Ineos Grenadiers), the 2022 junior time trial world champion, and the young Welshman scored a time of 15:08.
The final rider on the course, Valter, was in and out of the saddle on the climb, stopping the clock for good in the prologue and was able to secure a podium spot, knocking Holter to fourth place.
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