Riihimäki, Finland — Team Novo Nordisk’s Joonas Henttala sprinted to second place from a two-man break at Sunday’s Finnish national road race championship.
Henttala — who was the Finnish junior national road race champion in 2009 — entered the race hoping to earn his first professional title. The 22-year-old’s best finish at the race to date was seventh in 2012.
Henttala started the race strong, despite the wet and cold conditions. With 45 kilometers remaining on the 218-km course, Henttala attacked. Only Jussi Veikkanen and his teammate Samuel Pökälä were able to grab his wheel. The trio worked well together, eliminating any hopes that the peloton could catch them before the finish in Riihimäki.
With 10 km to go, the escapees began attacking one another. As they sprinted to the finish, the race was down to Henttala and Veikkanen, who has won the Finnish national road race championship six times since 2003. Veikkanen narrowly edged out Henttala for the win.
“I’m really happy with this result,” Henttala said. “I definitely didn’t lose to a bad guy. It was a sprint to the line and he beat me. That’s bike racing.”