The Norwegian stage race kicked off today in Halden with an undulating course of 138 kilometres to the local circuit in Sarpsborg. Faulkner, the last of five riders who escaped early in the race, managed to stay ahead of the peloton until just before the finish line. Team Jumbo-Visma Women was well organised at the front, but was unable to compete for the medals towards the finish.
“The intention was to race aggressively and go into the final with a fresh mind”, sports director Lieselot Decroix said. “Five riders broke away quickly. In the peloton there was a big crash, Amber Kraak, Anna Henderson and Anouska Koster also crashed. The damage was luckily limited and they managed to come back well. On the local laps, the team was racing attentively in front. We gave Faulkner a little too much leeway. A second crash happened a kilometre and a half before the finish, which slowed down the pace and disrupted the entire sprint. Everyone finished happily and we’ll try again tomorrow.”
Since defending champion and teammate Marianne Vos does not ride in the Tour of Norway, Anna Henderson started today with number one on her back. Prior to the first stage Henderson indicated that the team will do everything possible to keep Vos’ name high in the coming days. “I hope we can do justice to Marianne since she is the ‘queen of Norway’. Hopefully it will be a good week for us. I got my first professional win last week and as a team we are very strong at the moment. Hopefully we can take that form into this race and maybe take a stage win.”