"On the last climb, I was struggling to stay on the wheel" - Axel Laurance survives chaotic finale at Tour of Norway to secure biggest career victory

The talented 23-year-old Frenchman of Alpecin-Deceuninck, Axel Laurance secured himself the first general classification win of his professional career on Sunday, holding on in a dramatic final stage to take overall victory at the Tour of Norway.

"It was a really hard day, really short but as expected really tactical and nervous," reflected a relieved Laurance in his post-stage interview after the fourth and final stage, won for the third year running by Uno-X Mobility's Alexander Kristoff in a reduced sprint in Stavanger. "It was a really good day from the team."

Heading into the finale, Laurance was part of a trio on the attack having marked the moves of his general classification rivals, Mathias Vacek of Lidl-Trek and Bart Lemmen of Team Visma | Lease a Bike. "It was really tough. The pace was really hard on the first lap, Team Visma | Lease a Bike tried to put the pressure on and set quite a good pace," the Frenchman recalls. "But we managed to stay in control as long as we could and also Uno-X was there for the stage win so it was a really good advantage for us. I think we did a really good job."

"We knew the last two laps would be chaos but we were ready for that," he continues. "On the last climb, I was struggling a bit to stay on the wheel of Vacek. So I was like 'phew, it's not the moment to be distanced!' Then I really went full gas to come back into the wheel and after, I knew it was over. I just had to stay in the wheel and I new the general classification was secured."

As mentioned, this was the first GC victory of Laurance's career as he continues to develop into another very promising talent off the Alpecin-Deceuninck roster. "It's really nice!" Laurance concludes. "Without my team I couldn't win today. I was so motivated in the final so yeah, it's a really good feeling."

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