How the Race Finished
Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) made up for her disqualification at the Postnord Vagarda by winning the first stage of the Tour of Scandinavia, ahead of Megan Jastrab (Team DSM) and Shari Bossuyt (Canyon//SRAM) – and her teammate, Linda Riedmann, even managed to squeeze in for fourth.
The Main Action
The first stage of the new Tour of Scandinavia was in Denmark, running from Copenhagen to Helsingor. The crowds were out in force again in Copenhagen, after the impressive show at this year’s Grand Depart of the Tour de France. The route had no major climbs, but plenty of rolling terrain: it resulted in an aggressive, attritional race, with plenty of attacking, but it ended up all culminating in the predicted bunch sprint.
Nina Kessler (BikeExchange) took the points at the first intermediate sprint. Kirstie van Haaften (Parkhotel Valkenburg) then made an early attack, getting a gap of 40 seconds, but she was brought back. Lauretta Hanson countered, but by the time they started the first categorized climb, the peloton was all together. Femke Gerritse (Parkhotel Valkenburg), who was heavily involved in the early stages of the fight for polka dots in the Tour de France Femmes, took the maximum points, with Amber Kraak (Jumbo-Visma) just behind her.
After the categorized climb, the bunch was together. It was a little edgy; there was a small crash at the back of the peloton. Riders started to push it on the front: FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope in particular made an appearance, and strung out the peloton. As the pace upped, riders started to drop off the back. There was a repeated pattern of riders attacking and being reeled back: most significant was when Marianne Vos pushed forward, creating a small group of six, including Demi Vollering (SD Worx). The peloton was instantly alert to the danger, however, and pulled the group back. Jeanne Korevaar (Liv Racing Xstra) then lasted a little while on the front solo, but never had a significant gap, and she rejoined the peloton.
As they passed 50km to go, the race calmed down a little: the expectation was now perhaps of a bunch sprint, or riders were waiting for the finishing circuits to try and make a move. It was a tight fight for position as they approached the top of the second categorised climb. Jumbo-Visma were right at the front, and Marianne Vos attacked, with Amber Kraak on her wheel: Kraak picked up maximum points, ensuring herself the Queen of the Mountains jersey for tomorrow. Femke Gerritse was in pursuit of the two, but to no avail; she could only manage third.
The final circuits were then highly active. With 26km to go, Demi Vollering (SD Worx) attacked; when this was neutralised, her teammate, Niamh Fisher-Black immediately attacked over the top. With 22km to go, a rider from Coop-Hitec made an attempt at a late solo break, but was reeled back in. As they crossed the line for the penultimate time, Alison Jackson (Liv Racing Xstra) took the intermediate sprint points.
With the climb repeating on the circuit – though this time not categorized – SD Worx were again trying to make the race hard, with a lead-out into the base of the climb, and Demi Vollering attacking. She was followed by a small group, with Marianne Vos bridging over; the peloton was strung out in a single line behind them, but the gap was closed – too many teams wanted a sprint finish to let a small group go. Another group of four went clear, but were dragged back in turn.
It was Trek-Segafredo who were lined out on the front for the final 10km, lined out for their Danish sprinter, Amalie Dideriksen. More riders started to disappear off the back as the peloton gained speed. Trek-Segafredo burnt through their riders, leaving them with Chloe Hosking in the final kilometre. Alongside, Le-Col Wahoo, Uno-X, Parkhotel Valkenburg and UAE Team ADQ were all trying to launch their sprinters – but in the end, it was inevitably Marianne Vos who, launching her sprint early and viciously, took the victory.
In terms of stage results, Jastrab’s second place is notable: DSM will be looking for new sprint talent to lead their well-honed leadout, with the departure next year of Lorena Wiebes to SD Worx.
Marianne Vos now leads the general classification. Alison Jackson (Liv Racing Xstra) after taking third in the first intermediate sprint, and first in the second, leads the points classification. Amber Kraak (Jumbo-Visma), after a second-place on the first QoM, and a lead-out from Vos that lead to first on the second QoM, leads the mountains classification. Megan Jastrab (DSM) leads the youth classification.