When he crossed the end line at Lago Laceno and claimed the pink jersey of Giro d’Italia race chief, Andreas Leknessund (DSM) mentioned he had had no concept he was making a small however vital piece of biking historical past.
However after the Norwegian discovered he was the primary rider from north of the Arctic Circle ever to take the lead of the Italian Grand Tour in its 106 editions, he mentioned he was not, in any case, stunned. “The variety of cyclists from contained in the Circle may be very small,” he identified.
Even so, being born and raised within the small city of Tromso, Leknessund defined he was lucky to develop up there as a racer. His native membership may be very lively, and the bike riders from Tromso have gotten their very own methods of getting across the lengthy, darkish winters and heavy snowfalls, too.
“We now have particular winter bikes” Leknessund defined, “that we will use to exit and trip within the snow across the reindeer. Rising up and using there’s a huge a part of my id, I moved away once I was 16, however I all the time return to winter to trip there, it is one thing I actually get pleasure from.”
Nevertheless it’s not simply within the Giro d’Italia the place Norwegian biking is breaking some essential glass ceilings, Leknessund agreed, as this summer time Uno-X Professional Biking will grow to be the primary ever crew from the nation to participate within the Tour de France.
“Biking there’s getting into a very good route,” the 23-year-old recognised, “there’s plenty of expertise coming by means of proper now.”
A former under-23 European Time Trial Champion and with two nationwide TT titles to his identify, Leknessund’s earlier greatest win was a stage within the Tour de Suisse final 12 months. That win was additionally claimed from a breakaway, as probability would have it additionally shaped, by seven riders, similar to the transfer which in the end noticed the DSM racer take pink in stage 4 of the 2023 Giro d’Italia.
In Italy, Leknessund managed to shed all the remainder of the transfer on the ultimate ascent, the Colle Molella, previous to stage winner Aurelien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroen) regaining contact and taking the stage victory.
The duo’s hole of just below two minutes, although, along with a time bonus he picked up late on the stage and due to his second place on the end was sufficient to place Leknessund, twentieth within the opening time trial, into pink by 28 seconds on former race chief Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep).
Given Evenepoel had let it’s identified that his crew wouldn’t oppose a breakaway going for pink ever because the Belgian took the lead final Saturday, a ferocious two-hour battle ensued earlier than the definitive transfer of seven that lastly fought for the stage managed to go clear.
“It was a giant battle, many guys needed to be within the break, all of us knew the pink jersey was up for grabs,” Leknessund recognised, “I felt actually good and I used to be in kind of each transfer, however it was laborious. We lastly obtained away on a descent, which was possibly a shock, however that may occur.”
A spot of nicely over 5 minutes was dropping to beneath 4 by the foot of the Colle Mollela, however Leknessund performed a wise strategic recreation all the way in which to the highest.
“Figuring out myself as a rider, I knew I should not go too laborious within the first a part of the climb, and understanding it was steep in locations, I knew I may shut down the gaps fairly quick,” he mentioned.
“So I attempted to remain calm after which near the highest I attacked myself. I obtained caught on the final descent, however I feel I obtained the utmost out of the day.”
“The pink is a particular jersey, one thing you dream of, for a bike owner is the perfect. I’ll have a reminiscence about this for the remainder of my life.”
Leknessund recognised that he had no concept how lengthy he may keep in pink, however he promised he would defend it for so long as doable.
“For certain I am not a giant menace long-term and hopefully the GC groups can be pleased with me having it. Simply having the lead for one stage is already a hit.”
And are available what might within the Giro and in his profession, now Leknessund has already made some biking historical past, too.