Showing she is back to somewhere near her previous consistency, Marianne Vos (WaowDeals) won the Ladies Tour of Norway this week.
The Dutchwoman dominated the race, winning all three stages and four of the six intermediate sprints, bagging the attendant bonus seconds.
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Though the former world champion ruled the three day event, it was far from boring, with each of the undulating stages fiercely fought.
Riding for American champion Coryn Rivera, Team Sunweb won the team classification, though that was scant reward for three days of aggressive racing which saw them attacking at every opportunity.
Rivera eventually finished third, with Wiggle-High5’s Swedish champion Emilia Fahlin in second, after finishing on the podium each day.
How it happened
Four days of racing on the Swedish border, south of Oslo were kicked off last Thursday with a one day Women’s WorldTour team time trial.
Coming just days after a similar event in Sweden, Boels-Dolmans were touted as one of the favourites. However, with some key personnel missing it was Sunweb who took the honours with a convincing display.
The opening stage of the road race was the most aggressive, with Sunweb’s monochrome jerseys dominating the front of the race.
However, when it came to the final circuits the Dutch team seemed to lose position as the line approached and it was Vos who caught the lone leader Carol-Ann Canuel (Boels-Dolmans) in the closing 75km of the 127km stage.
Saturday’s stage was also 127km, though this time the peloton was met with rain and a sapping wind as the riders headed up the coast of the Oslo Fjord from the start in Fredrikstad.
While the peloton split under the pressure from the wind, once the bunch headed inland it reformed and it was only on the first of four finishing circuits of Sarpsborg that the race split.
Again it was Sunweb who instigated this splintering, riding hard on the up and down technical circuits, but once again they were unable to take advantage.
Used in this year’s men’s race, the final sprint was uphill for the final 800 metres, and suited Vos down to the ground, however the Dutchwoman had reckoned without Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) who attacked early.
As the Polish rider faded Vos was able to come over the top, with a fast charging Fahlin finishing immediately behind her for the second day in a row.
At 154km the final stage was the longest. Starting on the Swedish border the race headed south flirting with the border before heading permanently back into Norway late in the day.
Having won the race’s two previous classisifed climbs, Niewiadoma secured the Queen of the Mountains jersey before a group of seven riders escaped the clutches of the bunch. Though the septet build a lead approaching three minutes, the race came back together and a period of calm ensued.
It was only as the race entered the closing circuits in Halden, the event’s host town, that the pace lifted and the bunch again split on the technical course through the town’s narrow streets.
Once again attacking, Sunweb were joined by Mitchelton-Scott in a bid to overwhelm Vos’s 18 second lead, but despite receiving little help in closing all the gaps, she managed to take the victory after a hard fought sprint.
Vos is now clearly back somewhere the near the form of five or six years ago when she could win seemingly at will and won two consecutive word championships. Her Norwegian victory came on the back of a win at the Vårgårda road race where she also took the win and was her second success in the event.
This series of victories sees her enter the closing part of the season leading the individual classification of the Women’s WorldTour ahead of he next race, GP Plouay next Saturday.
Ladies Tour of Norway (17-19 September) final general classification
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Waowdeals in 10-17-49
2. Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Wiggle-High5 at 22 sec
3. Coryn Rivera (USA) Sunweb at 33 sec
4. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans at 37 sec
5. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM at 39 sec
6. Aude Biannic (Fra) Movistar 46 sec
7. Eva Buurman (Ned) Trek-Drops at 51 sec
8. Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Sunweb at same time
9. Alison Jackson (Can) Team Tibco Silicon Valley Bank at 59 sec
10. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Sunweb at 1-00