Marianne Vos is within touching distance of a third Ladies Tour of Norway title after winning her second stage of the four day race.
Entering the final 200 metres with Coryn Rivera, the Dutchwoman blasted past the American putting four seconds into her on the steep finish. Vos’s compatriot Demi Vollering (Parkhotel-Valkenburg) was third, 11 seconds back.
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In what was an electrifying final, Vos made her move on the first of two ascents of the short but steep climb to Fredriksten Fortress in Halden, the race’s home town. With the peloton thinned under the pressure of Sunweb’s Canadian rider Leah Kirchmann, Vos made her move half way up the 1.3km climb which averaged 7.3% gradient.
Rivera (Sunweb) managed to get on the wheel and the pair crossed the finish line for the first time together. The duo worked well on the second of two laps, while behind a group desperately tried to close them down.
Vos and Rivera began the final ascent to the Fortress with a lead of around 25 seconds, but that was cut when Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) attacked closing to within touching distance. She was followed by Kirchmann, but as the leaders took the left hand hairpin in to the closing straight, 300 metres out, the chasers were not on terms.
Vow now goes into the final stage with a lead of 19 seconds over Rivera in second, with the 154km stage between the Norway Sweden border at Svinesund and a flat finish in Halden remaining.
How it happened
The 125.km stage between Moss and the Fredriksten Fortress at Halden was set to be the queen stage of the four day event, with the double ascent to the fort a significant challenge.
However, perhaps knowing they were set for a tough final 20km, the peloton took it relatively easy. Only after 15km to go was there an attack, with former Australian champion Shannon Malseed (Tibco-SVB) riding off the front.
By the time she reached the first intermediate sprint at Våler, after 21km, she had a lead of 1.30. That built steadily until it topped out after 55km, by which time she was seven minutes ahead of the bunch, though having started the day 9.36 behind Vos’s lead, she was not a threat.
It was then that the peloton began to ride, the chase steadily whittling away the Australian’s advantage, though not without hiccoughs, as a series of crashes taking down a number of riders.
With the race entering its final 15km on the approach to the closing circuits, Malseed was finally caught by a peloton whose character had switched from begin and gentle to manically aggressive.
Just before the descent into Halden, another crash took out the points classification leader Emilie Moberg (Virtu), denting her chances of winning the green jersey in her home town on Sunday.
The pace was such that she was unable to get back on before the final intermediate sprint, just 200 metres from the start of the first ascent to Fredriksten Fortress where Vos once agin proved so dominant.
Ladies Tour of Norway, stage three; Moss – Fredriksten Fortress (125km)
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv in 3-24-20
2. Coryn Rivera (USA) Sunweb at 04 sec
3. Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel-Valkenburg at 11 sec
4. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb
5. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM all at same time
6. Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 12 sec
7. Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Sunweb at 15 sec
8. Mavi Gacía (Esp) Movistar at 17 sec
9. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Alé-Cipollini
10. Vita Heine (Nor) Hitec Products all at same time
General classification after stage three
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv in 10-00-00
2. Coryn Rivera (USA) Sunweb at 19 sec
3. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb at 31 sec
4. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM at same time
5. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) at 32 sec
6. Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Sunweb at 35 sec
7. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans at 45 sec
8. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Virtu at 48 sec
9. Reijanne Markus (Ned) CCC-Liv at 50 sec
10. Hanna Nilsson (Swe) BTC City Ljubljana at same time