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Sina Frei makes switch from MTB to road with SD Worx at Tour of Scandinavia

IZU JAPAN JULY 27 Sina Frei of Team Switzerland jumps off a boulder during the Womens Crosscountry race on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Izu Mountain Bike Course on July 27 2021 in Izu Shizuoka Japan Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images
Sina Frei on her way to a silver medal in the cross country mountain biking at the Tokyo Olympic Games (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Sina Frei will be swapping bikes this week, with the Swiss mountain biker taking to the road as she lines up for SD Worx at the first edition of the six-stage Tour of Scandinavia from Tuesday August 9 to Sunday August 14.

It’s not overly unusual to see mountain bikers make a foray onto the road, with compatriot Jolanda Neff regularly among those on that list. Frei in fact has raced alongside her mountain biking compatriot on the road for a national team at the Tour de Suisse the past two years. She also lined up at the World Championships road race in Flanders, where she came 15th.

However, this is the first time the Tokyo Olympic Games silver medallist and World short track champion is lining up for the top-ranked team, and she is doing it at a Women’s WorldTour race where SD Worx rates as a favourite for the overall with Demi Vollering. Plus the Tour of Scandinavia is expected to be just the opening gambit for the Specialized Factory Team rider.

"It's up to Sina how we plan to do this in the future, but to start with this is a nice stepping stone,” SD Worx sports manager Danny Stam said in a statement. “The fact that talents like Sina can make the combination in this way is only beneficial for the width of women's cycling."

It is not the first time the Dutch women's squad has brought an off-road rider onto the team, with Annika Langvad making a series of appearances at one-day races in 2019, and heading to the podium with second at Strade Bianche and third at La Flèche Wallonne Féminine.

Frei, who has sat out the last two North American rounds of the Mountain Bike World Cup, will be joining the team to take on the varied Scandinavian tour, which has stages for the sprinters, break specialists and climbers. 

Vollering, who came second at the Tour de France Femmes, will be spearheading the team’s overall hopes and, along with Frei, will be joined by Elena Cecchini, Blanka Vas, Anna Shackley and Niamh Fisher-Black.

“That we have such a versatile team at the start is an advantage,” said Fisher-Black, who is looking to team up with Vollering to create “fireworks” on the stage 5 summit finish after returning to racing with the team following her fifth overall at the Giro d’Italia Donne. 

“We have to try to take advantage of the strength of the team,” said the 21 year old from New Zealand. “We have many different cards to play and that will be necessary too, because this round is often unpredictable.

“With newcomer Sina Frei, we have someone who has a very technical background in mountain biking. After all, there are a number of stages with a technically complicated profile, and we will reap the rewards of this. This will undoubtedly be an attractive race to follow."

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Production editor

Simone joined the team as Production Editor based in Australia at the start of the 2021 season, having previously worked as Australian Editor at Ella CyclingTips and as a correspondent for Reuters and Bloomberg.