Team Sunweb won the Ladies Tour of Norway Team Time Trial. Eleven months after winning the world title in Bergen, the Dutch team was again fastest in Norway, covering the 24.3-kilometre course in 29:53 minutes. Mitchelton-Scott finished as runner-up, 38 seconds slower, and Cervélo-Bigla rounded out the podium 1:09 minutes behind.
Unlike 2017, the Ladies Tour of Norway did not start with a prologue, instead organisers held a stand-alone team time trial on Thursday before the stage race gets underway on Friday.
Starting in Aremark, the 24.3-kilometre course was mostly flat until the second intermediate time after 17 km. Descending into Halden, the third time check was taken after 22 km just before the start of the climb to the finish line at the fortress of Fredriksten.
Starting third after the Norwegian and Swedish national teams, Lotto Soudal Ladies set the first benchmarks at the time checks, eventually finishing in 32:45 minutes. Team Virtu Cycling improved on the Belgian squad's times at every intermediate split and posted a new best time of 32:26 minutes at the finish.
Despite trailing at the time checks, the Movistar Team finished faster than the Danish squad in 32:15 minutes, showing that this TTT was not only about speed, but also about planning the race well and leaving enough in the legs for the finishing two-kilometre climb.
Wiggle High5 set new best times at all intermediate splits and were the first team to beat the 32-minute mark. Finishing perfectly, with all four remaining riders abreast, they set a new benchmark of 31:37 minutes.
Meanwhile, WaowDeals had improved on Wiggle High5's times and were the first team to reach the finish with more than the minimum four riders. Keeping the whole squad together right to the end, WaowDeals cut 23 seconds off the previous best time.
The Dutch squad did not hold the best time for long, though. Cervélo-Bigla only participated in the TTT, leaving out the three-day stage race, and left it all on the road, setting new best times throughout and finishing in 31:02 minutes. Next were Team Sunweb, and Lucinda Brand, Leah Kirchmann, Liane Lippert, Floortje Mackaij, Coryn Rivera, and Ruth Winder improved the best time at every intermediate split. Although Kirchmann and Mackaij could not keep the pace in the end and the remaining four lost cohesion on the final 100 metres, the team easily set a new best time, breaking the 30-minute barrier in 29:53 minutes.
Only three teams remained on the course. Canyon-SRAM just missed the time of Cervélo-Bigla and eventually finished just off the podium. Mitchelton-Scott brought five riders onto the last kilometre, losing their fifth woman only on the last 200 metres, and set the second-best time of the evening with 30:31 minutes.
Boels Dolmans had won the Vårgårda TTT, but had changed their line-up for Norway and were not as strong as last week, finishing in sixth place, 1:38 minutes slower than the winners of Team Sunweb. One of the absent riders was Anna van der Breggen who nevertheless stays atop the UCI Women's WorldTour overall ranking.
The Ladies Tour of Norway stage race starts on Friday with a rolling stage from Rakkestad to Mysen, covering 127.7 kilometres.
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|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Team Sunweb Women||0:29:53|
|2||Mitchelton Scott Women||0:00:38|
|3||Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycing Team||0:01:09|
|5||Waowdeals Pro Cycling||0:01:21|
|6||Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam||0:01:37|
|8||Team Movistar Women||0:02:22|
|9||Team Virtu Cycling||0:02:33|
|10||Lotto Soudal Ladies||0:02:52|
|11||BTC City Ljubljana||0:03:00|
|12||Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank|
|17||FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope||0:03:45|
|19||Cogeas-Mettler Pro Cycling Team||0:04:24|