Carl Hagen finishes eighth in first Vuelta!
Finishing eighth in your first Grand Tour is the performance Carl Fredrik Hagen can add to his palmarès! The Norwegian rider – who turns 28 next week – still rode at the continental Joker Icopal team last year, but during the past weeks, he climbed - in the wake of the other Vuelta protagonists - to a fantastic overall result. There has never been a Norwegian rider who obtained a better result in the general classification of a Grand Tour.
Carl Fredrik Hagen: “It have been very tough but beautiful weeks, an unforgettable experience. Of course, I surprised myself. Before La Vuelta, my first goal was to – as a Grand Tour rookie – make it to the finish in Madrid; and if everything would fall into place, I maybe dreamed of a top twenty. I absolutely didn’t think finishing inside the top ten was possible.”
“This was only made possible thanks to very good legs, good tactics and excellent teammates and staff. For me, it was one big journey of discovery, because I hadn’t raced for longer than eight consecutive days in the Dauphiné. I have to say that my legs at day seven or eight of the Dauphiné felt the same like during stage seventeen or eighteen in La Vuelta. I didn’t have bad days.”
“The two times I was part of a big breakaway made me realise that a good overall result was possible. The day prior to the stage to Andorra, I was in the break with Tosh; and one day later, during the first mountain stage in Andorra, I managed to stay upright pretty well. And after stage eighteen, when I finished sixth, I really believed in the top ten.”
“Due to my lack of experience, we approached this Vuelta day by day and we didn’t think about the general classification or about defending a particular spot. But to eventually finish eighth after seven big names, who have a lot of experience and rode countless Grand Tours, is phenomenal, a little unreal even. For me, reaching this level, is a reward for many years of hard work.”
“It was an invaluable experience to get to know my body, physically, but also to deal with the mental aspect. To be focused one hundred percent every time, 24/7. There have been full gas racing, attacks, crashes, echelons,… Just a moment of not paying attention could cost you twenty minutes.”
“That I delivered the best Norwegian performance in a Grand Tour is of course nice. I noticed that many people have followed this Vuelta, which brings me great joy, of course!’