Scandinavian race organisers have unveiled a new ten-stage event that they believe will be the hardest race on the women’s calendar. The new race will be known as the Battle of the North and will make its debut in 2021.
The organisers have been bold in their initial marketing of the event, dubbing it a ‘Tour de France for women’.
The race is the combined efforts of the organisers of the Ladies Tour of Norway and the Vårgårda West Sweden, along with the Danish Cycling Federation. The new event will replace the Norwegian and Swedish races, which come back-to-back in August on the current WorldTour calendar, and it will be ridden over 10 stages and 11 days.
"We are planning for the world elite on site, millions of TV-viewers, and of course thousands of spectators along the course," Ladies Tour of Norway race director Roy Moberg said.
Under the current plan, there will be three stages in Denmark and Sweden, and four in Norway, where the race would finish. At present, the Vårgårda West Sweden is two single-day events – a team time trial and a road race – while the Ladies Tour of Norway is a four-day race. Denmark does not have any women’s races on the UCI calendar, though it has four men’s races.
The Ladies Tour of Norway brought the idea of a combined race to the other organisers, who were very receptive to the idea. The aim is to get the new event onto the Women’s WorldTour calendar, which will be a first for the Danish Federation. If it all comes together, the race will come soon after Denmark holds the Grand Départ for the men’s Tour de France in 2021.
"Battle of the North is a unique co-operation between the three countries. LToN came up with the idea and the two other countries were positive from the start,” the event press release said. "Vårgårda in Sweden has the longest tradition in organizing races at the highest level for women and they do now see the possibilities to develop their races even more.
"Denmark have wanted a WorldTour race for ladies for a long time, but so far they’ve failed to get one. Now they can say that the best ladies are coming also to Denmark, at the same time they are also preparing for the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in 2021. Battle of the North will be the first ever WorldTour race for women in Denmark."
With 10 stages, the new race would be one of the longest on the calendar and a rare multi-country stage race. The only other 10-day race is the women’s Giro d’Italia, which is currently the sole Grand Tour on the women’s calendar.