Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope) won stage 5 of the Tour of Scandinavia that finished atop the 11-kilometre Norefjell climb. The Danish champion followed the attack of German champion Liane Lippert (Team DSM) with three kilometres to go, and the two shared the work until the flamme rouge.
Lippert sat on Uttrup Ludwig's wheel in the final kilometre, and when the Dane opened the sprint 150 metres from the line, Lippert could not respond. Julie Van de Velde (Plantur-Pura) finished in third place, 31 seconds behind.
Uttrup Ludwig goes into the final stage with a 17-second lead on Lippert, Alexandra Manly (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) is third overall at 44 seconds.
“This means so much to me. I am so happy. It’s almost as big as winning a Tour stage. It’s a big deal, on a mountain, in Norway, and it’s great that there are so many spectators,” Uttrup Ludwig was overjoyed with her victory.
“The first part of the stage was okay. Then there’s always a full lead-out into the climb, and my teammates were so good. They did such a great work,” Uttrup Ludwig said on the podium before leading the crowd in applauding her teammates.
Describing the final, she said: “We just went on the steepest part, so cool. Then I thought ‘this one will be hard to win, but we’ll try,’ and it worked out, we won.”
How it unfolded
After a late crash on stage 4, Team SD Worx was down three riders including their leader as Demi Vollering, Niamh Fisher-Black, and Anna Shackley did not start the stage. Neither did Anne-Dorthe Ysland (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team) who had been injured in another crash.
The first rider to get away on the 127.4km stage was Esmée Peperkamp (Team DSM) who won the first mountain sprint before being caught again. Amber Kraak (Team Jumbo-Visma) was second and took enough points to secure her QOM jersey mathematically, she only has to finish stage 6 to win the mountain classification.
Green jersey Alison Jackson (Liv Racing Xstra) won the intermediate sprint in Vikersund to further extend her lead in the points classification and is uncatchable on the final stage.
Sarah Roy (Canyon-SRAM) attacked with 66km to go and was about 30 seconds ahead until a group of five riders bridged to her. This group did not work well together and was quickly reeled in. Soon after, Sophie Wright (UAE Team ADQ) went on the move and gradually built a lead of up to 2:20 minutes. Valerie Demey (Liv Racing Xstra) went on a solo chase but never got close to Wright and sat up 18km from the finish when Movistar Team had taken up the chase in the peloton, quickly reducing the gap.
Wright was caught with 14km to go, and the peloton thinned out fast on the 11.1-kilometre, 5.6-percent climb. FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope set the early pace with Emilia Fahlin, who swung off at the 10km mark and was replaced by her teammate Stine Borgli. When Borgli was done with 7.6km to go, white jersey Shari Bossuyt (Canyon-SRAM) took over in the service of her teammate Neve Bradbury.
Bossuyt’s pace further reduced the group and was too hard for yellow jersey Marianne Vos (Team Jumbo-Visma). Peperkamp was the next to set the pace in support of Lippert, and only 12 riders were left at the five-kilometre mark. Bradbury launched an attack on the steepest part of the climb 3.2km from the finish and was countered by Lippert who had Uttrup Ludwig in her wheel as well as Anouska Koster (Team Jumbo-Visma).
Lippert and Uttrup Ludwig opened a gap on Bradbury who stayed just ahead of Koster while the Danish and German champions rode away, sharing the work until the final kilometre. Koster finally closed the gap to Bradbury with Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo) and Van de Velde for company, and Erica Magnaldi (UAE Team ADQ), Tamara Dronova (Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad), and Peperkamp joined them 2km from the line, prompting another attack from Koster that was quickly neutralised.
Uttrup Ludwig led Lippert through the final kilometre and launched her stage-winning sprint from the front while Van de Velde attacked from the group behind to take third place.
Josie Nelson (Team Coop-Hitec Products), Manly, and Katrine Aalerud (Movistar Team) came back to the chase group, and while Aalerud had nothing left to sprint and lost several seconds, Nelson and Manly finished fourth and fifth on the stage.
Bradbury finished 10th and is now sixth overall and the best U23 rider while Aalerud is the best Norwegian.
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