How the Race Finished
It was heartbreak for Emilia Fahlin (FDJ – Suez – Futuroscope) on the second stage of the Tour of Scandinavia, as the Swede narrowly missed out on a win in her home country, just losing a sprint to the indomitable Marianne Vos, who takes her second victory in two days.
The Main Action
The second stage of the Tour of Scandinavia took the race to Sweden, running from Orust to Stromstad, along the coast. There was a threat of cross-winds, but it never quite materialised, with slightly too much shelter along the roads; riders tried to get away on the rolling parcours, but the climbs were never quite long enough. It was a quieter day than yesterday, with the action before the final kilometres only coming from the QoM points and intermediate sprints.
The first Queen of the Mountains points were taken by a 1-2-3 of Jumbo-Visma; they are clearly committed to defending Amber Kraak’s QoM jersey. Femke Gerritse (Parkhotel Valkenburg), who fought for the points yesterday, could only manage fourth. It was the same story for the second QoM: Marianne Vos was there to lead out Kraak, and Gerritse had to cling on to them to make it to fourth place.
Alison Jackson (Liv Racing Xstra), current leader in the points classification, took the first intermediate sprint, with Eline van Rooijen (AG Insurance-NXTG) behind her; the fight for the green jersey seems to be between these two at the moment. For the second intermediate sprint, AG-Insurance NXTG was prepared: they gave van Rooijen a full leadout, meaning she pipped Jackson to the post.
After the final QoM, the race started to get more active. On the small, rolling rises of the course, riders attacked: small groups went clear, but were never able to get free from the peloton. For a few kilometres, there were constant attempts to form a breakaway, but no-one seemed inclined to let them go. The only group to get a significant gap was 11-strong, and contained Alison Jackson (Liv Racing), Anouska Koster (Jumbo-Visma), Elynor Backstedt (Trek-Segafredo) and Anna Shackley (SD Worx); they were immediately perceived as too much of a threat, however, and it was Movistar who dragged them back.
The pace rose in the final kilometres: the bunch almost started to split under the pressure. Magdalene Lind, from the Norwegian national team, tried a solo attack with 15km to go; she managed a few kilometres, hovering in front of the peloton, but couldn’t hold out against the teams preparing for a sprint. With 12km to go, they entered an exposed section: almost all of DSM appeared on the front to up the pace, and small groups of riders began to drop off the back. However, the section wasn’t long enough for anything more to happen than a few riders at the back of the peloton to get caught out.
The city-centre run-in to the sprint was tight and technical, and two crashes happened in the final few kilometres: Alison Jackson skidded out on her own, and Kata Blanka Vas (SD Worx) and Marta Jaskulska (Liv Racing Xstra), among others, were caught out in another. The tight corners thinned out the group, as they reached the finishing straight. Emilia Fahlin launched first, and got agonisingly close to taking a home victory, putting everyone else out of sight – but Marianne Vos followed, and came around her at the very last minute.
Marianne Vos retains the lead in the general classification, with Megan Jastrab (Team DSM) in second, and Emilia Fahlin (FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope) in third. Alison Jackson (Liv Racing Xstra) continues to lead the points classification, with Vos in second, and Eline van Rooijen (AG Insurance NXTG) in third. Amber Kraak leads the mountains classification, which Jumbo-Visma currently dominate – they have riders in first, second, fourth, and fifth, with Femke Gerritse (Parkhotel Valkenburg) sneaking in for third. Megan Jastrab (Team DSM) continues to lead the youth classification.