"It is not yet WorldTour level, but it is already very nice" - Axel Laurance aims for bigger victories in the future

Axel Laurance had few turbulent years in his development after sudden disbanding of B&B Hotels at the end of 2022, but with a stage victory at Tour of Norway, it seems like things are finally moving the U23 World champion's way.

When he studied the profiles of the Norwegian 2.Pro race, the Alpecin-Deceuninck probably circled the Thursday's stage as the one where he would score. However Laurance was ready to improvise in his plans.

"I didn't know if it was going to work. It was a long climb and I didn't work on that kind of effort. However, I felt good and was well positioned. When the climb leveled out for a moment, I was able to recover. I was also well supported by Luca (Vergallito, ed.)," he said in a quick interview afterwards.

Laurance survived the steepest sections and was ultimately able to use his best weapon - a strong sprint - to go for the win ahead of Ethan Hayter and Bart Lemmen. "Then I know it is possible for me. I went all out with 200 meters to go. The fact that I can win is very nice. I didn't expect I could do this. It is not yet WorldTour level, but it is already very nice," he expresses his ambitions to score at the biggest races.

With two easier races left to complete, Laurance is in the overall lead of the race. The French rider holds a 12-second gap over Bart Lemmen and home rider Adne Holter is one second further behind. Rather then losing the jersey through bonifications, the Alpecin-Deceuninck will have to be wary of breakaway potentially stealing the leader's jersey.

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