"It was the first time I rode with Wout van Aert and it's really incredible how strong he is" - Bart Lemmen secures 2nd overall at 2024 Tour of Norway

Whilst for Team Visma | Lease a Bike, most of the headlines surrounding their 2024 Tour of Norway performance were about the return to racing of Wout van Aert following his spring-ending crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen earlier this year, Bart Lemmen quietly impressed throughout.

In the end, it was a second overall finish for Lemmen in the general classification as the 28-year-old continues to more than hold his own in just his third season as a cyclist and first year at World Tour level having made the late switch to professional cycling after a career in the Air Force. "I didn't specifically have a plan to keep the later winner Axel Laurence from the final victory," Lemmen reflects post-stage 4 to his team's official website.

Despite not having any pre-stage plans to overturn the deficit to Laurens, Lemmen was part of a late attack alongside the race leader and Lidl-Trek's Mathias Vacek that was eventually snuffed out as Uno-X Mobility's Alexander Kristoff sprinted to victory on the final stage, much to the delight of the Norwegian supporters on the roadside.

"I did want to see what would happen if the race was made tough and we could get away with some strong riders," Lemmen says. "I had a very good day today and could also count on an incredibly strong team. It was the first time I rode with Wout and it's really incredible how strong he is. A pleasure to ride with."

On van Aert, the Belgian sprinted to 3rd place in the final stage, a positive showing in just his fourth race day since returning. "It's a pity the peloton came back, because with Bart in the leading group it was the perfect situation for us. He was second in the classification and didn't have to ride," van Aert said in his own post-stage interview. "At about 300 metres from the finish I got boxed in, so I couldn't quite ride the sprint I wanted to ride. It was my own fault."

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