2022 Tour of Scandinavia - Battle of the North, WWT, August 9th to 14th



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):

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5WZopdBXGo&ab_channel=SigmaSports


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.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7v-1xp8VMVQ&t=1s&ab_channel=UCI


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
 
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It looks a meh route - Lets see what the riders make out of it.
It's not exactly the most promising route, no, but it still provides some interesting racing last year.

Live coverage starts now. Femke Gerritse won the first QOM sprint, and Nina Kessler and Alison Jackson have won an intermediate sprint each and are both on 6 points in that competition.

@Red Rick, it's sticking time.
 
Feel like they missed a great opportunity here to expand the race by not having a better route. Interest should be high after the TdFF and with the Vuelta not having started+ no other big races being on.
But this? Even with more agressive riding and smaller teams in the WWT I just don't see much happening expect for mainly bunch sprints and GC decided on the final 30 minutes of stage 5.
 
Feel like they missed a great opportunity here to expand the race by not having a better route. Interest should be high after the TdFF and with the Vuelta not having started+ no other big races being on.
But this? Even with more agressive riding and smaller teams in the WWT I just don't see much happening expect for mainly bunch sprints and GC decided on the final 30 minutes of stage 5.
It's got the organisation of the Tour of Norway to build off so it will probably grow in coming year. Especially as I think it was supposed to be 10 days and include the Vargada weekend but after covid they went their separate way and continued as a different event.
 
Feel like they missed a great opportunity here to expand the race by not having a better route. Interest should be high after the TdFF and with the Vuelta not having started+ no other big races being on.
But this? Even with more agressive riding and smaller teams in the WWT I just don't see much happening expect for mainly bunch sprints and GC decided on the final 30 minutes of stage 5.
Yea, it feels like a Tour of Oman, Tour de Langkawi style "win the MTF win the race" stage race, initial plans were a lot more grandiose and they were hoping for 9 or 10 stages taking in all three countries properly, and probably absorbing and working together with the Vårgårda organisers too. As it is, the route etc. feels, outside of the MTF of course, very Women's Tour, with flat to rolling courses where the bunch will probably largely stay together, but at the same time the time bonuses etc. are less likely to be relevant with that summit finish, plus obviously following almost directly on from two GTs means those riders that did both are largely not here, resulting in a race which has one decisive climbing stage, but with a lot of the top climbers not in attendance - there's no Longo Borghini, van Vleuten, Niewiadoma, Cavalli, García, Moolman-Pasio, Labous... and yet also some of the elite sprinters like Wiebes, Norsgaard and Balsamo aren't here either (though you have to believe Norsgaard would have been had she been healthy). Hopefully the race is close enough after the climb for the Halden castle laps on the last stage to give us something and the lack of an obvious dominator gives us a bit more of a battle, though the evidence of the TDFF would seem to suggest this should be Vollering's to lose.
 
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It's got the organisation of the Tour of Norway to build off so it will probably grow in coming year. Especially as I think it was supposed to be 10 days and include the Vargada weekend but after covid they went their separate way and continued as a different event.
It doesn't have any connection to the men's Tour of Norway as far as I know.

There were also some issues, because it's a private organiser, and both the Danish stage and the Swedish one are organised by the federations. The Danish federation also had a hard time securing public funds from the local municipalities.

Yea, it feels like a Tour of Oman, Tour de Langkawi style "win the MTF win the race" stage race, initial plans were a lot more grandiose and they were hoping for 9 or 10 stages taking in all three countries properly, and probably absorbing and working together with the Vårgårda organisers too. As it is, the route etc. feels, outside of the MTF of course, very Women's Tour, with flat to rolling courses where the bunch will probably largely stay together, but at the same time the time bonuses etc. are less likely to be relevant with that summit finish, plus obviously following almost directly on from two GTs means those riders that did both are largely not here, resulting in a race which has one decisive climbing stage, but with a lot of the top climbers not in attendance - there's no Longo Borghini, van Vleuten, Niewiadoma, Cavalli, García, Moolman-Pasio, Labous... and yet also some of the elite sprinters like Wiebes, Norsgaard and Balsamo aren't here either (though you have to believe Norsgaard would have been had she been healthy). Hopefully the race is close enough after the climb for the Halden castle laps on the last stage to give us something and the lack of an obvious dominator gives us a bit more of a battle, though the evidence of the TDFF would seem to suggest this should be Vollering's to lose.
Unlike Black Mountain, Norefjell should still be able to create gaps without AVV racing, so I doubt it will be that close going into the final stage.

We can hope there'll be smaller group going clear on a stage without Vollering in it, so there's some excitement before the MTF.
 
The route didn't lend itself to any adventures, both Vos (several times) and Vollering tried to get away the last 50k but it was impossible on this route so snooze fest ensued.
 
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