Only four days after her victory at the PostNord Vårgårda WestSweden Road Race, Marianne Vos (WaowDeals) climbed the top step of the podium again on Friday after winning stage 1 of the Ladies Tour of Norway.
Again it was a long sprint that delivered Vos to victory. Opening up with 200 metres to go on the uphill finishing straight, the experienced Dutchwoman caught lone attacker Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels Dolmans) at the 100-metre mark and passed her on the right side of the road. Emilia Fahlin (Wiggle High5) came around Canuel on the left and was the only one who could challenge Vos for the stage win. But it was Vos who came out victorious thanks to a well-timed bike throw.
"That was pure class from Marianne," WaowDeals sports director Jeroen Blijlevens said of his star rider. "She's been on a constant high level for months now. Hopefully we'll see more of her in the next couple of days, as we really want to keep the top spot in the race overall. It will be the job of the team to support Marianne as best they can, but it won't be easy as there's another difficult stage with lots of hills on Saturday."
"It was really close in the end," Fahlin said of the sprint. "I didn't expect to have such a good sprint, but coming that close on the line, and seeing on the pictures how close it was, it hurts a little bit. That said, there's a good group of sprinters here, so it's nice to put a gap into them and be able to challenge Vos. I'll take confidence from that, for sure."
When Canuel and Floortje Mackaij (Team Sunweb) were off the front, the burden of chasing lay entirely with Mitchelton-Scott. Annemiek van Vleuten and Amanda Spratt went to work and caught Mackaij, meaning that they finally got help from Team Sunweb in the final kilometres. In the sprint, Mitchelton's Gracie Elvin just missed a podium spot and finished fourth.
"Our plan was to drive the pace on the last two finishing circuits and have me ready to go, so we stuck to that plan," Elvin explained. "Spratty and Annemiek were super-strong, and they pretty much pulled back the two leaders. It was cool to have those two working for me, and to just wait for the sprint. I thought I was going to get on the podium, but just got rolled by Coryn Rivera [Sunweb] in the final. Overall, I'm pretty happy because I did everything I could, put myself in the best position and just could not hold on right until the finish."
Emilie Moberg (Team Virtu Cycling) hails from the race's hub in Halden, and her family plays a big part in the race organisation. But the local rider will not be part of the race anymore this year as she had to abandon stage 1. Moberg is still suffering from a headache, which is an after-effect of her crash at the RideLondon Classique.
The Ladies Tour of Norway continues on Saturday with a stage from Fredrikstad to Sarpsborg.
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