If you're the sort of person, who can't give a straight answer when asked whether you'll rather watch a Danish, a Swedish or a Norwegian race, there's now finally an opportunity for you to choose all of the above. The Battle of the North, formerly known as the Ladies Tour of Norway, and for this edition also called the Tour of Scandinavia to distance it from actual warfare and viking rampage, has 6 stages; one in Denmark, one in Sweden and four on Norwegian soil.
Just like last year, the Norefjell climb on the penultimate day is expected to decide the race, but hopefully there'll be some exciting racing before that as well.
Stage 1: København/Copenhagen - Helsingør/Elsinore, 145.6 km.
Stage 1 starts on Kongens Nytorv (the King's New Square), which was also a part of the opening time trial in the Tour de France, in the heart of the Danish capital. On the way to the finishing citcuit near the Kronborg Castle and the trainiong ground for the Danish national football team, the riders will ascent Geels Bakke and Søllerød Slotsbakke, known from the 2011 WC course. The winner will be crowned at the third crossing of the finish line.
The stage will sadly not visit Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig's hometown of Herlev, but if you want to see her in her natural habitat before tomorrow, you can always rewatch her cafe ride with Matt Stephens (I assume you have seen it multiple times already):
Stage 2: Mollösund - Strömstad, 154 km.
The peloton will travel to Sweden by ferry after the conclusion of the first stage. From Mollösund they'll embark on a 154 km journey along the west coast to Strömstad. It's hillier than the first stage, but it will probably still end in a sprint.
Stage 3: Moss – Sarpsborg, 119 km
Stage 3 has the same finale as seen in last year's race, which saw Kristen Faulkner narrowly holding on to a solo victory ahead of a fast sprinting (and some percentage Danish) Susanne Andersen from DSM. Faulkner is not taking part this year, but Andersen, now representing Uno-X, is on the start line.
Stage 4: Askim – Mysen, 119.2 km
Last year's stage between Askim and Mysen also saw the peloton not catching a solo attacker, with Riejanne Markus riding home to victory. She isn't participating this year, but jumbo-Visma are brinigng Marianne Vos, so they will probably ride for her no matter what.
Stage 5, Vikersund – Norefjell, 127.4 km
The 2021 race had an MTF at the Norefjell ski resort for the first time, where Annemiek van Vleuten cruised to the stage overall victory in the final kilometres. Van Vleuten is resting before the Vuelta Challenge, and Movistar leadership is instead in the hands of her Norwegian training partner Katrine Aalerud.
They climb the first 8.5 km of the profile below, and the the final two km to the finish line are false flat. You might get to see race director Roy Moberg in a chicken suit somewhere on the climb. His daughter Emilie will sadly not be riding, as she's still recovering from crashing out of last year's Paris-Roubaix.
Stage 6: Lillestrøm – Halden, 153.4 km
The last stage finishes on the traditional circuit in Halden. Chloe Hosking took an emotional win here last year, after she had been sidelined by Covid-19 in the preceding months.
Start list: https://firstcycling.com/race.php?r=15688&y=2022&k=8