Marianne Vos (WaowDeals) had won the Ladies Tour of Norway in 2017, so it was not a surprise when she came out on top again, but the manner in which she defended her title baffled even herself. The Dutchwoman won all three stages of the race, closing down moves in the finales every day and still having enough left to sprint to victory.
"We came to Norway with confidence after the success in Sweden," Vos said. "Having won in Norway last year, I knew that the race suited me well. I wanted to go for the overall win again - but winning all three stages as well is something you hardly dare to dream of."
Having been very visible herself, Vos thanked her team for the support throughout the race. "The work that my teammates do often remains unseen. They took control of the peloton, assisted me in tactical decisions, and also closed gaps in decisive moments. All three stages had a technical finish that invited attacks, and we always rose to the occasion."
Neither did Vos expect another reward for her strong week in Scandinavia; she moved past Anna van der Breggen into first place in the UCI Women's WorldTour ranking, meaning that the purple jersey will not be on the shoulders of a Boels Dolmans rider for the first time since the Tour of Flanders.
"It was a surprise for me," Vos said. "I had not looked at the standings before the Scandinavian races. And it is the first time I am leading this classification, too."
Unlike 2017, the GP Plouay on 25 August is a part of Vos' race calendar this year. She will line up in purple next Saturday to defend her lead.
Fahlin, Rivera on the podium
Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) had fallen to fourth place overall after stage 2, and getting back on the podium was one of the team's goals for the final stage. The US champion succeeded in this and, after a strong performance in all three stages, the team also won the team classification.
"I could pick up two seconds in the first intermediate sprint," Rivera explained. "Then we had to chase over the gravel section bring back the break. On the local laps, I got another second, but I was still off the GC podium. Lucinda Brand and Floortje Mackaij put in a million attacks to get away for the stage win, but it came down to a sprint in the end. I got second on the stage, and the time bonus for that moved me back into third on GC."
Swedish champion Emilia Fahlin (Wiggle High5) narrowly lost to Vos on the first two stages and was third in the sprint on stage 3, finishing as overall runner-up. Normally seen working for her team mates, it was a new position for Fahlin to be the leader herself.
"I did not expect this of myself before the race," she said. "It is pretty incredible when you look at the competition. It was a new situation for me to be the team leader, and I am not that used to it. Yesterday Kirsten Wild did an amazing job, today Elisa Longo Borghini was really there for me. It is awesome to have these great riders support you and have confidence in you. I had a great time, but it was nervous today for sure."
Mitchelton-Scott were probably the most aggressive team on the circuit in Halden, attacking left and right in an attempt for the stage win. In the end, it came to nought, and the team's protected rider Gracie Elvin finished 10th on the stage and 11th overall, but there were no regrets.
"We knew everyone would be tired after two very hard stages. It was a good opportunity to put the other teams under pressure, especially on the final laps," Elvin said. "I was solo for a lap but could not hold off the bunch so close to the finish. We wanted to give it all today and gamble a little. It was fun to be aggressive with Annemiek van Vleuten and Amanda Spratt, we had nothing to lose."
2018 Women's WorldTour individual standings after Ladies Tour of Norway - Brief Results
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Marianne Vos (Ned) Waowdeals Pro Cycling Team||1244||pts|
|2||Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam||1160|
|3||Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton Scott Women||1105|
|4||Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton Scott Women||1040|
|5||Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team||962|
|6||Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM Racing||852|
|7||Coryn Rivera (USA) Team Sunweb Women||761|
|8||Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam||650|
|9||Jolien D'Hoore (Bel) Mitchelton Scott Women||637|
|10||Chantal Blaak (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam||578|