In her first race since March, the Australian sprints to the win in Stage 4 at the Ladies Tour of Norway
It’s been a long five months, but Chloe Hosking is back! The Australian sprinter battled Covid-19 and health issues relating to the virus for most of the 2021 season. The Ladies Tour of Norway was Hosking’s first race since Gent-Wevelgem, and in Stage 4, her first sprint opportunity of the race, she delivered a poignant victory.
There was no hiding the tears for Hosking, who claimed her first win of the season and her first with Trek-Segafredo. “I am just so proud of myself, and I am so thankful for the Team throughout the whole process, who always told me there’s no pressure Chloe, come back when you’re ready,” said a teary-eyed Hosking. “So, to finish with a win in a WorldTour stage race…wow! I’m just…it was all worth it, I guess.”
Hosking did not expect a result in Norway, but her experience racing a course for the fourth time paid off. And it made the win that much sweeter.
“I definitely did not expect a win here. I could see in my training that I was coming up and coming up, but I was really looking at Norway to help me build for the races that are coming later. But honestly, I love this race, I love this stage, I have finished 4th, 5th, 6th on this stage before, so I think this is my fourth try, and I finally got the line right.”
Lucinda Brand, who sprinted to 6th place in the first two stages, took to the front early in the technical finish of Stage 4. With Hosking on her wheel, the cyclocross world champion dove through the tight corners of the local lap. However, coming under the red kite with one kilometre to go, she was running out of steam.
“I had Lucinda Brand with me, and she’s definitely one of the best bike handlers in the peloton, and for a super technical circuit like this, that’s who you need in front of you. But she was on the front early, so I knew I had to surf wheels. I sensed people were coming up and kept upping my pace,” explained Hosking.
When the rival lead-outs came over Brand, Hosking jumped trains. She knew she needed to stay at the front for the final turns to the line but found herself first wheel, the worst position for a sprinter—however, not this time. “Coming into the final s-bend, I said screw it! I am just gonna go and take up all the road and hope no one can come past me,” said Hosking.
Hosking jumped. Her straight line through the final s-bend made a pass impossible, and coming out of the turns, with 200 meters to go, she put her head down and powered over the line first, taking one of the most memorable wins of her career.
“It was more mentally tough,” explained Hosking about the forced break. “I was never physically super sick, but I was being told that I had to take it easy. Australia is so far away, and it’s even further when we can’t get in, and my family can’t come here. So I felt alone – really alone – for a lot of the time.”
Not anymore. Her teammates quickly surrounded Hosking as they celebrated the emotional victory. She had to wait nearly five months for her first win with her new team. It’s one she likely will never forget.