Another day, another win for Marianne Vos. The Dutch rider was able to time her finish to perfection on an uphill that had been used in 2021 and 2018. Vos herself won in 2018 so knew the finish well, the peloton had got a sighter of it on previous laps of the finishing circuit. Despite the lead-out trains working at full force, most of them had burnt their matches before the climb, leaving Karolina Kumiega in the front. She was exposed to the wind and was unable to make much headway. Instead behind the Pole, riders sat being patient. Only when Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig finally kicked did the peloton spark into life. It was Marianne Vos, who’d carefully negotiated herself out of a boxed-in position, who was able to jump on the wheel of the Danish champion and sprint past her for the line.
Earlier in the day, we had our first proper break of this year’s Tour of Scandinavia. A shorter 188.9km stage allowed riders to worry a little bit less about the distance and the wind was light too. It was Elena Pirrone of Valcar and Josie Nelson of Coop-Hitec Products who made the early headway. The pair had a gap of over 3 minutes at one point but the peloton began to reel that back quickly when they began attacking each other with around 55km to go to the finish. BikeExchange-Jayco were putting the hammer down when there was a crash, blocking a big chunk of the peloton. Marianne Vos herself had to burn a few matches to return to the lead group.
Movistar’s Lourdes Oyarbide jumped clear and bridged the gap to the lead pair. She distanced them both on a climb and began to go solo. She looked good but the action in the peloton behind prevented her from making too many gains. Attacks from Sofia Bertizzolo and Demi Vollering put some more pressure on Vos but she was equal to the task. Alice Barnes was the next rider to get away and had a small gap over the peloton going through the finish with the bell ringing for the last lap. The peloton was equal to the task, there was going to be no repeat of last year’s finish where Kristen Faulkner was able to just about stay away and win the stage.
Anouska Koster tried an attack and so did Leah Kirchmann but ultimately neither stuck for very long. As above, Vos did well to free herself from a tight spot but was comfortably the winner by the finish line. Behind her and Uttrup Ludwig, Shari Bossuyt was 3rd, Lucinda Brand 6th, Yara Kastelijn 8th, Floortje Mackaij 9th and Marthe Truyen 10th, to create an impressive top-10 full of riders from the Low Countries.
“We tried to keep control and always be on the move. It was a very tough race, there was continuous attacks in the final. I tried to keep the focus and be on the right wheel in the last kilometres.
That was quite tough. I am very happy that I was able to finish it. It doesn’t get boring. It keeps feeling good every time and it’s never the same.”Marianne Vos
Main photo credit: Kenneth Asbjørnsen / Evenfotografene