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Amund Grøndahl Jansen: "The goal is a stage victory"

Amund Grøndahl Jansen: "The goal is a stage victory"

When Tour des Fjords starts in Balestrand on May 24, one of the top teams at the start line is the Dutch outlet of Lotto NL-Jumbo. Led by Tour de France-stage winner and former cyclo-cross world champion Lars Boom, the team is also bringing an up and coming Norwegian talent aiming for stage victory.

23-year old Amund Grøndahl Jansen from Nes i Akershus is a future promise for the tough Northern classics and also a promising sprinter. A fourth place at the U23 edition of Tour of Flanders, stage victory in the prestigious Tour de l’Avenir and the title of the Norwegian U23 champion with Team Joker in 2016 made him a person of interest for the big teams. In his first year with WorldTour team Lotto NL-Jumbo, Jansen is now team mates with riders like Steven Kruiswijk, Robert Gesink and Dylan Groenewegen. After already having shown promising peformances at Dwars door Vlaanderen, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, Jansen is now returning to Norway to race Tour des Fjords on home soil. Reason enough to get to know him a bit better.

Tour des Fjords is celebrating its fifth birthday this year. The very first stage in 2013 started in Setesdalen valley, across the Suleskard road and on to Stavanger, with headwinds, rain and in the cold. In the race’s very first brakeaway sat a young 19-year old from Nes i Akershus in his first year as semi-pro. What are your memories from that day?
Amund Grøndahl Jansen: “I remember the first Tour des Fjords very well. Actually, that stage has been a conversation topic in my team this year when we were discussing Norwegian races. It’s not often you get an entire day of pouring rain in a race that is 200 kilometers from A to B, and I guess many still think back to the long descents in the cold with scare. Luckily I was in the break, and since we were only two riders we managed to stay warm while trying to keep the pace high."

This year, you are returning to Tour des Fjords in an international top team, Lotto NL-Jumbo. What are your expectations for the race?
"First of all it will be a lot of fun to race at home in Norway. You don’t get this opportunity very often. I will be the designated sprinter in our team and will be borrowing the lead-out train from Dylan Groenewegen, our main sprinter for the Tour de France. So I am hoping to find a little peak now in May and get a stage victory at home."

You came to Lotto NL-Jumbo from the Norwegian Team Joker last year and are doing your first season on an international top level. How has this changed your life?
"Life is pretty much the same, despite a new coach and a new race schedule of course having an influence on what I am training. The main difference is when being together with the team and during races. First of all, nobody knows Norwegian, but also the entire support staff is so much bigger than what I’m used to. I am still meeting new people that work for the team all the time."

You have already done many big races this year, most noteably the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. How has your season been so far?
"All in all it was good. Our team did not get what they wanted from the classics season, but I personally could learn a lot that I will benefit from in the future."

Your contract with Lotto NL-Jumbo is still running until the end of 2018. How do you see your future and what plans does your team have for you?
"The cobbled classics are my big passion as a cyclist and also the races that fit my physiology best. The team knows this and we are working on making the next step, so I hope I will be able to get good results in those kind of races very soon. But the cobbled classics are just one part of the season, and I am also working on finding my place as one of the team’s sprinters."

What are your team’s goals for Tour des Fjords?
"We will see on a day-to-day basis. Of course we want to win a stage, but in the overall classification we will see what happens and where we end up eventually. For some riders, the main goal is getting back into the race rhythm after a break, and others aiming for the Tour de France will use the opportunity to fine-tune their capacity in the finals."