How the Race Finished
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig took victory in the fifth stage of the Tour of Scandinavia, showing off the Danish jersey and taking the lead in the general classification. On the final, 11km climb, the peloton was whittled down almost immediately into a select group. With 3km to go, Liane Lippert (Team DSM) attacked; Uttrup Ludwig followed, and attacked in turn. The two of them came to the line together, with Lippert cagey, refusing to work – which visibly annoyed Uttrup Ludwig. The annoyance perhaps gave her an extra boost in the sprint, with Lippert giving up behind her. Julie van de Velde (Plantur-Pura) finished in third, thirty seconds back.
The Main Action
The queen stage of the Tour of Scandinavia ran 127.4km from Vikersund to Norefjell, with an 11km mountain to end the day. It was likely the GC would be decided here, with tomorrow finishing with flat, technical circuits around Halden.
Esmée Peperkamp (Team DSM) started off the day with a solo attack. She created a 30 second gap, and went over the first classified climb alone, but was caught by the first intermediate sprint. Here, Alison Jackson (Liv Racing Xstra) continued to defend her points jersey; she now has a nearly untouchable lead – though she is still at risk if Marianne Vos decides to contend for the intermediate sprints and the stage tomorrow.
Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo) led over the second classified climb, with Amber Kraak just behind, defending her lead in the mountains classification. With 60km still left of the race, the attacking was constant; it seemed like every team was trying to get up the road. Sarah Roy (Canyon//SRAM) was the rider who finally managed to break the elastic, establishing a thirty second gap. The attacking never calmed down behind her, however; with 50km to go, the gap was back down to ten seconds. A group then bridged across, which included Lucinda Brand – but no-one was willing to work with Brand, sensing that there was too much danger in her presence, and as the cohesion fell apart, the peloton caught them in short order.
It was then Sophie Wright (UAE Team ADQ) who went clear. The British rider eked out a gap of over two minutes, with 30km to go. Valerie Demey (Liv Racing Xstra) attempted to bridge across, but to no avail. For a while, it seemed as if Wright might maintain the gap to the base of the climb, but there were too many teams interested in lighting things up, and she was caught with just 3.5km to the foot of the climb,
It was Movistar that set the pace at the base of the climb. The peloton started to fracture almost immediately. FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope then moved up to push things harder, and a small, select group emerged – which, for now, contained the yellow jersey, Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma). Shari Bossuyt (Canyon//SRAM) came to the front to set pace, and with just over 7km left of the climb, Vos started to slip off the back; she made a few fierce efforts to chase back on, but had to concede the lead of the race.
Now, it was not only a stage win but also the yellow jersey up for grabs. Esmée Pepperkamp (DSM) came to the front to set a fierce pace, her teammate Liane Lippert tucked in behind her, and riders started to drop off one by one. With the group whittled down, and with 3km to go, Lippert made her move, dropping everyone but Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Suez Futuroscope), who clung to her wheel. Behind, the remaining riders – Anouska Koster (Jumbo-Visma), Neve Bradbury (Canyon//SRAM), Julie van de Velde (Plantur-Pura), Alex Manly (BikeExchange), Tamara Dronova (Roland Cogeas Edelweiss) – were trying to bridge across, but couldn’t match the acceleration of Lippert and Uttrup Ludwig.
The two of them were putting in little, testing accelerations, but Uttrup Ludwig was increasingly obviously frustrated that Lippert was mainly choosing to stay on her wheel – Uttrup Ludwig wanted to get as large a gap over the chasing group as possible, and secure her GC. In the final 500m, Lippert let Uttrup Ludwig lead them out, obviously hoping to preserve energy for a sprint – but, when it came to it, Uttrup Ludwig had the most powerful acceleration, with Lippert barely able to sprint at the end. Julie van de Velde came in as the best of the rest behind, with Josie Nelson (Coop-Hitec Products) taking fourth and Alex Manly backing up her stage win yesterday with a fifth place.
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig is the new leader of the general classification, with a 17 second lead over Liane Lippert (Team DSM), and 44 seconds over stage-4 winner Alex Manly (BikeExchange Jayco). Julie van de Velde (Plantur-Pura) sits in fourth, while Tamara Dronova (Roland Cogeas Edelweiss) rounds out the top five.
Alison Jackson (Liv Racing Xstra) continues to dominate the points classification; she leads Marianne Vos by 36 points to 22, with Eline van Rooijen (AG Insurance – NXTG), who was beating Jackson in sprints in some of the early stages, in third on 17 points. Amber Kraak (Jumbo-Visma) has a similarly tight grip on the mountains classification, with 33 points to her teammate Anouska Koster’s 12. Neve Bradbury, after making the select group on the final climb, moves into the lead in the youth classification.