Preview: Tour of Scandinavia

The WorldTour peloton heads to Denmark this Tuesday for the start of the much anticipated inaugural Tour of Scandinavia.


The Route 

An evolution of the Ladies Tour of Norway, the first edition of the Tour of Scandinavia (also known as the Battle of the North) begins in Copenhagen on August 9. Six days of action will see the peloton tackle 1,000km of racing up through Denmark, Sweden, and on into Norway.



As is often the case with Scandinavian racing, the majority of the stages are characterised by lumpy, attritional terrain with technical circuit style finishes which typically induces aggressive and dynamic racing.


Stage 1 – Copenhagen – Helsingør (DEN), 145,6 km

Beginning on Tuesday in the heart of Copenhagen, the opening stage will see the riders head north on a rolling 145.6km route to the finish in Helsingør. A relatively flat day, with just one short QoM, Denmark’s first ever Women’s World Tour stage looks like one for the sprinters.


Stage 2 –  Orust – Strömstad (SWE), 154 km

Stage two sees the bunch head to the island of Orust, north of Gothenburg in Sweden. Following the western coastline, the 154km is again a rolling, but not overly taxing route, that should culminate in a bunch kick.



Stage 3 – Moss – Sarpsborg (NOR), 119 km

Travelling to Norway, stage three takes place in the region of Østfold – the home of the Ladies Tour of Norway. Starting in Moss, the undulating stage heads through Son, Våler, and the coastal resorts of Saltnes and Onsøy before reaching Sarpsborg where three technical finishing laps remain.


Stage 4 – Askim – Mysen (NOR), 119,2 km

The so-called ”Indre Østfold-stage’’ is similar to last year’s Ladies Tour of Norway stage where Riejanne Markus took the win on the slightly uphill finish in Mysen.  Although the roads of this stage may be familiar to the peloton the outcome isn’t as predictable; it could be a successful day for a break or it could be another opportunity for the fastest finishers to power to victory from a reduced bunch sprint.


Stage 5 – Vikersund – Norefjell (NOR), 127,4 km

Saturday’s stage five is the big one and the summit finish of Norefjell will likely decide the GC battle. Starting in Vikersund, the ‘Queen Stage’ sees riders follow a rolling 116km two lap route around Åmot, before heading onto the climb up to the scenic Norefjell ski resort. The 11.1km ascent averages 6.1%, but with segments topping 18%, the average gradient belies the challenging nature of this climb. Last year, Annemiek van Vleuten soloed to victory on these demanding slopes, but with the Dutch women absent in 2022, they’ll be a new ‘Queen of Norefjell’ this year.


Stage 6 – Lillestrøm – Halden (NOR), 153,4 km

The sixth and final stage sees the peloton travel from Lillestrøm just east of Oslo to Halden. The rolling 153.4km will make for another demanding stage and with three tough and technical finishing laps around the harbour of Halden there may be a dramatic finale to the first ever Tour of Scandinavia.



Riders to Watch

Mid-season and post the Giro-Tour double is a tricky time of year for riders, especially those with goals towards the end of the campaign. Indeed, several riders have opted for a period of mental and physical downtime to reset before they build back up towards the World Championships later in the year. Notable absentees from the start list are reported to include Annemiek van Vleuten, Marianne Vos, Lorena Wiebes,  Elisa Longo Borghini and Mavi Garcia to name a few.

When it comes to stage wins we can expect the punchy rouleurs to rise to the fore. The likes of  Emma Norsgaard (Movistar), Emilie Moberg (Le Col – Wahoo) and Amalie Dideriksen (Trek Segafredo) will all be vying for stage wins. All three are fast finishing, savvy racers who will be incredibly motivated to perform well in their ‘home race’.

Other riders to watch out for in bunch kicks are Canyon Sram’s Shari Bossuyt, Chloe Hosking (Trek Segafredo) and Lorena Wiebes’ prodigy – Charlotte Kool (Team DSM).

The battle for GC honours looks likely to fall the way of the peloton’s climbers owing to stage five’s mountaintop finish at Norefjell ski resort. Danish rider, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ) will be one of the favourites and undoubtedly she’d love to clinch the win whilst sporting her national champion’s jersey.

Meanwhile, SD Worx’s Demi Vollering will pose a big threat especially as the 25 year old is reportedly in the ‘form of her life’. The Tour’s 2nd place finisher as well as Polka Dot jersey winner has had a great season so far with several emphatic wins including the impressive Itzulia cleansweep. With the team’s young climbers – Niamh Fisher-Black and Anna Shackley – likely to be riding in support of Vollering, she’ll prove tough to beat on the climb up to Norefjell.

Rival, Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon Sram) will also be vying for the win if she opts to start. The 27 year old climber had a great Tour last week with a third place overall and she’ll be looking to continue that run of form into August.

Liane Lippert is likely to spearhead Team DSM in their bid for a GC win. The former WorldTour Youth Series winner was 3rd in Amstel Gold back in the spring and typically thrives in races of attrition. She’ll be well suited to the demanding Scandinavian terrain and technical finishing circuits so expect to see her challenging for a podium spot.

Other riders to watch include Amanda Spratt and teammate Urška Žigart (Team BikeExchange), Grace Brown (FDJ) as well as the Tour’s White Jersey winner – Shirin van Anrooij of Trek-Segafredo.



 When: 9-14 August

Where: Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway and Sweden)

What: 6 day stage race


GC Riders to watch:

Demi Vollering ****

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig ****

Kasia Niewiadoma ***

Niamh Fisher-Black ***

Amanda Spratt ***


Top Outsider:

Shirin van Anrooij


Watch the Femmes:

Eurosport and Discovery.

In Norway, TV2 will provide live coverage.


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