After a year blighted by illness, Chloe Hosking returned to form winning the final stage of the Ladies Tour of Norway on Sunday.
After her stage win on the mountain top finish at Norefjell on Saturday, Annemiek van Vleuten finished in the bunch to take the overall victory. The only GC action on the day occurred on the closing circuits when Spanish champion Mavi Garcia (Alé-BTC Ljubljana) was caught up in a crash and never got back on, ceding her third place.
As for Hosking, until this week she had not raced since March, having suffered with Covid-19 and a subsequent infection. Having placed in the top 10 on the race’s final stage numerous times she knew how important positioning was on the final circuits, using her Trek-Segafredo team expertly.
While Valcar Travel and Service and DSM battled for control, Hosking’s team-mate took it two kilometres out, delivering the Australian into the final kilometre. From there she surfed wheels before opening up, beating Coryn Rivera (DSM) into second, with Chiara Consonni (Valcar Travel and Service) third.
Knowing her 39 second lead was virtually unassailable on what was almost certain to be a sprinter’s stage, Van Vleuten was unusually openly confident ahead of the stage and never in trouble during it. She was perfectly positioned when second placed Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (SDWorx) accelerated on the circuit’s climb, and was deserved winner.
How it happened
For the final stage the race returned to its spiritual home on the east side of the Oslo fjord, starting on the coast in Drøbak, and heading back to the event’s birthplace of Halden, close to the customs station on the Swedish border.
Undulating, the 141.6km stage was expected to finish in a bunch sprint, though on stages one and two we saw the breakaway take the honours, and hoping to duplicate such heroics a number of riders attacked the moment the flag dropped, two pairs heading up the road.
While the second of those was soon brought back by the bunch, Rosella Ratto (Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire) and promising Belgian climber Julie Van de Velde (Jumbo-Visma) were quickly allowed to build a lead of one minute.
However, with the sting of missing out on a bunch kick so fresh in their minds, the peloton never seemed too content, initially keeping the duo fairly close until why finally let go, the pair’s advantage going out to 2-17.
However, by the time they dipped under the 100km to go marker the gap was out to 6-23, the kind of gap which used to be unusual in the women’s sport, though with overall leader, Annemiek van Vleuten’s lead over Van de Velde more than 12 minutes, there was no threat.
No sooner than that advantage was achieved it gradually began to be reduced, the advantage slowly being whittled away well ahead of three final 5.4km circuits around the finish town of Halden.
At the 30km mark Ratto dropped back to the peloton which was by now less than a minute back, though as soon as she was caught, in a startlingly similar scenario to stages one and two, Van de Velde’s advantage went back out.
However, she was caught just as the race reached Halden and the pace increased for the final circuits where points were on the the line for the points jersey. The circuits were ridden at extremely high pace, with onerous teams trying something, though the race ended in the expected bunch kick.
Result Ladies Tour of Norway, stage four: Drøbak - Halden (141.6km)
1. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Trek-Segafredo in 3-36-06
2. Coryn Rivera (USA) DSM
3. Chiara Consonni (Ita) Valcar Travel and Service
4. Christine Majerus (Lux) SDWorx
5. Sarah Roy (Aus) BikeExchange
6. Elise Chabbey (Sui) Canyon-SRAM
7. Elena Cecchini (Ita) SDWorx
8. Alison Jackson (Can) Liv Racing
9. Eugénie Duval (Fra) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
10. Emilie Moberg (Nor) Drops Le Col p/b Tempur all at same time
Final general classification
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Movistar in 11-10-25
2. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) SDWorx at 39 seconds
3. Kristen Faulkner (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank at 50s
4. Marlen Reusser (Sui) Alé-BTC Ljubljana at 54s
5. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwi g (Den) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope at 58s
6. Rachel Neylan (Aus) Parkhotel Valkenburg at 1-00
7. Riejanne Markus (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1-13
8. Juliette Labous (Fra) DSM AT 1-22
9. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 1-22
10. Yara Kastelijn (Ned) Plantur-Pura at 1-24
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