Vos says ‘road cycling is like a game’, and she’s playing it better than anyone

It's Vos's world and the rest of the peloton is just living in it.

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They tried.

The peloton threw the kitchen sink at trying to prevent stage three of the Tour of Scandinavia from coming down to a sprint in the hopes that they could stop Marianne Vos from taking her third stage win in a row.

The inimitable Jumbo-Visma leader took stages one and two with relative ease, although Emilia Fahlin put up a good fight in the latter. In a feat of clever positioning, strong teamwork, and a racing instinct, Vos took a third win in Sarpsborg.

The rest of the peloton, in the knowledge that Vos is nigh-on unbeatable in a sprint at the moment, sent off countless attacks in the final few laps of the Sarpsborg circuit, including an attempt at a solo flyer from Canyon-Sram’s Alice Barnes, who would usually be amongst it in a bunch kick. Jumbo-Visma, and Vos herself, were determined for the outcome to go their way and did a stellar job of keeping things together.

Coming into the finish, Vos was boxed in. But she is Marianne Vos, and as such, she found her way out and into the perfect position on the finishing straight. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig gave her a run for her money and Vos was seen hunched over her bike as she caught her breath after crossing the line but she won by a bike length with time to celebrate.

“The last kilometre was hard but also the 60 kilometres before that were pretty hard so a really nice race I think,” Vos said after the race. “A lot of attacks, especially this last lap it was so hard to stay in front and stay in control and cover all the moves but we tried to stay in control and be with every break and in the end I tried to be in the right wheel.”

As Freewheeling’s Tilda Price put it, we are watching the:

Despite her impressive hat-trick, however, Vos was demure in describing her stellar run. “I’m not so much better than anybody else,” she said. “It’s just trying to stay focused and trying to do well every day and now three times in a row it all works out but it’s not much more than just this. The level is really high and everything is close to each other and I’m just very happy that it all worked out.”

The 35-year-old is not frequently referred to as the ‘GOAT’ for nothing. After her two Tour de France Femmes stage wins and a five-day stint in yellow, Vos took her Tour form and went on to sprint from a four-woman breakaway to win the Postnord Vårgårda WestSweden road race before being subjected to a strict commissaire’s decision to DSQ her for adopting the so-called ‘puppy paws’ hand position.

It could be said that experience may have given her fuel for the fire coming into the Tour of Scandinavia but Vos is not a rider who needs additional encouragement to race as hard as she can.

“I can’t say it’s getting boring,” she said of her innumerable wins. “It’s really satisfying when things work out, and it’s never the same, it’s a bike race and you have to stay alert and focused and it’s really nice that road cycling is like a game, you have to play it. You have to be as a team, you have to be smart, and sometimes maybe you have to be lucky. And in the end, you also have to work hard and try and get there.”

With Friday’s stage four marking the final flat stage of the tour Vos is sure to be playing the game once again. Can she win another?

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