How the Race Finished
It was a third victory for Marianne Vos, this time in Norway. She’s now won the three opening stages of the Tour of Scandinavia, and in three separate countries. Vos won an uphill sprint at the end of attritional, city-centre laps in Sarpsborg. She was caught out of position, boxed into the middle of a group, with less than a kilometre to go, but made a huge effort to come around the group and slip into the front. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Suez Futuroscope) launched first, hoping for a repeat of Stage 3 of the Tour de France Femmes, where she beat Vos on an uphill finish – but today, she couldn’t match the power of Vos, who surged past her to take the victory.
The Main Action
The third stage ran from Moss to Sarpsborg, with a rolling parcours, similar to the first two stages. The race took the shape of an early breakaway, followed by frantic attacking in the final circuits. The first attack came from Elena Pirrone (Valcar Travel & Service), who established a gap of over twenty seconds on her own. Josie Nelson (Coop-Hitec Products) bridged across, and the two soon had a lead of a minute and a half. As they reached the first classified climb, the category 3 Skjønnerød, they had two minutes. Amber Kraak (Jumbo-Visma) picked up the two points QoM left over at the summit of the climb; she has been extremely focused on securing the peacock-feather jersey. The young Hungarian rider, Kata Blanka Vas (SD Worx), tried to chase across to the two leaders, but in short order was caught by the peloton; the gap started to drop to Nelson and Pirrone, as the pace rose.
With 75km to go, the pace settled again: the leading duo’s gap was back out to three minutes. They passed through the first intermediate sprint, with Alison Jackson (Liv Racing Xstra) pipping Eline van Rooijen (AG Insurance NXTG) to the post when the peloton went through, taking the remaining two points. The situation looked relatively calm, with Pirrone and Nelson nearly at four minutes ahead, when a crash broke the peloton into two groups. Luckily for those in the second group, Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) and Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo) – who would both be eyeing the stage finish as suiting them – were caught behind with them, and pulled the groups back together.
With under 50km to go, the gap for the leaders had dropped to under a minute. Lourdes Oyarbide (Movistar) took the chance to bridge across, joining them with under 40km to go, as the trio re-established their lead at a minute. However, the trio was swiftly back to a trio: Pirrone was the first to crack, dropping back to the peloton. As they approached the final classified climb, the category 3 Greåker, Nelson & Oyarbide had 22 seconds over the peloton. Nelson was the next to crack, after spending a great deal of the day out in the break: she dropped back to the peloton before they reached the summit. The pace behind rose as they approached the summit: Jumbo-Visma was determined to secure the remaining QoM points for Amber Kraak, which they did comfortably.
Oyarbide remained out front, but with attacks flying behind, it was inevitable she would soon be caught. It was Sofia Bertizollo (UAE Team ADQ) who made a big move – and it was Marianne Vos who was immediately on her wheel, forcing Demi Vollering (SD Worx) to drag them back. Vollering was preparing to attack over the attack, but got squeezed out. The front group continued to string out under pressure of countless attacks and counter-attacks, endless attempts to go over the top.
As they entered the final circuits, Alice Barnes (Canyon//SRAM) leapt out from the peloton, quickly establishing a substantial gap. Mie Ottestad (Uno-X) made an attempt to bridge over, but couldn’t. For twenty kilometres, Barnes’ gap fluctuated between 10 and 25 seconds, with the peloton strung out behind her on the technical course. DSM were a constant presence on the front, trying to set things up for Megan Jastrab, in the white jersey. Lucinda Brand made repeated attacks – always dogged by Vos. With 6km to go, Barnes was finally caught. Anouska Koster (Jumbo-Visma) made several attacks, getting a small gap: the peloton behind was so strung out it almost wasn’t a group any more.
Any time an attack of any serious threat went, Vos was immediately on the wheel: she clearly wanted to make it three in a row. With just 700m to go, she looked boxed in: stuck in the middle of a group, unable to manoeuvre out of the position on the numerous tight corners. However, on a small straight section, she suddenly pulled out and made and explosive effort to move up the group, settling in at the front to prepare for the sprint. It was Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Suez Futuroscope) who launched first, next to her, but she couldn’t match Vos’ power.
After Vos, the podium was rounded out by Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Suez Futuroscope) in second, and Shari Bossuyt (Canyon//SRAM) in third. Lucinda Brand, who’d been highly active in the finishing circuits, came in sixth. Floortje Mackaij, who made a brief solo attack towards the end, still came in ninth. Notably, Plantur-Pura managed two riders in the top ten – Yara Kastelijn in eighth, and Marthe Truyven in tenth. The finish was raced hard enough to create gaps in the peloton, with plenty of riders losing six or twelve seconds.
Vos, unsurprisingly, keeps the yellow jersey. Shari Bossuyt (Canyon//SRAM) moves into second, and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Suez Futuroscope) moves into third. Alison Jackson (Liv-Racing), keeps the green jersey, but she is only a single point ahead of Marianne Vos. Amber Kraak (Jumbo-Visma) keeps her lead in the mountains classification – with Vos, after her lead-outs for Kraak into the QoM summits, second in this classification as well.