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Cyclingnews' 2002 Top Ten - Nordic Moments
The Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, represent a small but significant part of the international cycling peloton. This year, riders from those countries performed very well, with a couple of World Championships, a Classic and a Tour stage win to name but a few. Cyclingnews' Scandinavian correspondent Tomas Nilsson outlines what he felt were the most significant happenings.
In reverse order, here's Cyclingnews' 2002 Top Ten Nordic Moments of 2002.
10. Finnish Silver at World's
October 12, Zolder, Belgium: Jukka Vastaranta wins Finland's first World Championships medal ever by finishing second in the Junior Men's road race.
9. Möller wins in Portugal
August, 15, Lisbon, Portugal: Claus Michael Möller might not be considered a part of Nordic cycling since his forced emigration to Portugal following a positive drug test some years ago. But he still keeps a Danish passport and his win of the final stage, and thus the general classification, of the Volta a Portugal was a good piece of craftsmanship.
8. Arvesen wins PostGirot Tour of Sweden
June 15, Huskvarna, Sweden: Norwegian Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Team fakta) grabs the yellow jersey, by finishing third in the fourth stage of the Tour of Sweden, and holds on to it until the finish. Later in the season he won a stage and came second overall in the Tour of Denmark, and finished the season as number 37 on the UCI list, the highest ranked Scandinavian rider.
7. Ljungqvist on a roll
April 2, Camembert, France: Swedish Champion Marcus Ljungqvist (Team fakta) wins the French classic Paris-Camembert, and three days later the Route Adélie. Later on he also bags the Tour of Luxembourg, finishing the season ranked 48 on the UCI scale.
6. Track racing again in Copenhagen
January 6, Ballerup, Denmark: The Ballerup Siemens Arena opens with an international meeting. The World Championships that were held there later in the season established the arena as the new centre of track cycling for all of Scandinavia. Unfortunately, part of the roof caved in in early January, 2003.
5. Team fakta wins Division II
November 13: UCI issues the final rankings of the season with Team fakta winning second division. Denmark gets its second first division team for 2003.
4. Thor Hushovd wins a Tour stage
July 26, Bourg-en-Bresse, France: Thor Hushovd wins Norway's - and small town Grimstad's - second ever Tour de France stage (the first was Dag-Otto Lauritzen in Luz Ardiden 15 years ago), the 18th of this year's edition.
3. Piil wins Paris-Tours
October 6, Tours. France: Jakob Storm Piil proved that Danish teams don't have to rely on imported stars. A 239 kilometre long break away saw a well deserved winner in Paris-Tours, the penultimate World Cup leg.
Also, Piil's win in the Tour of Denmark earlier in the season raises Danish hopes for 2003.
2. Gunn Rita Dahle comes back with a world title
September 1, Kaprun, Austria: Gunn-Rita Dahle, Norway, finally came back, on top of the world, after several years of struggling with overtraining. She won the women's cross country MTB race at the MTB World's.
1. Ljungskog wins the big one
October 12, Zolder, Belgium: Susanne Ljungskog, Sweden, wins the women's World Championship road race with an epic two kilometre finish that not only gave her the rainbow jersey but also swept her to the top of the world rankings.