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Tour of Scandinavia stage 3: Marianne Vos takes the hat trick in Sarpsborg

Dutchwoman takes third win in three days, beating Uttrup Ludwig on uphill finish.

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Marianne Vos (Jumbo Visma) took her third Tour of Scandinavia stage win in three days on Thursday, outsprinting Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope) on the uphill finish in Sarpsborg.

The Dutchwoman had to come the long way around in the final sprint but passed Uttrup Ludwig in the final meters. Shari Bossuyt (Canyon-SRAM) finished third.

An attack from Alice Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) in the final 25km saw the Brit hold a 20-second advantage for the first two laps of the finishing circuit, but she was caught going into the last 6km of the stage.

“The last kilometer was hard, but also the 16 kilometers before that were pretty hard,” Vos said at the finish. “It was a really nice 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 on the right wheel.

“I’m not so much better than anybody else. It’s just that I try to stay focused and try to do well every day, and now three times in a row it works out. But every time it’s not [by] much more than just this. The level is really high and everyone is close to each other and I’m just very happy that now it works out.

“I can’t say it’s getting boring. 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. 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. In the end, you also have to work hard and try and get there.”

How it happened

After two sprint days, stage 3 offered the first more complicated finish, with a punchy climb at the end of the 119km route from Moss to Sarpsborg in Norway. The finish was used in the Ladies Tour of Norway last year in a stage that saw Kristen Faulkner just survive from the breakaway, so there was plenty of motivation to get away from the peloton.

As a result, for the first time in the race so far, an early breakaway went at the start of stage 3. The attacks started as soon as the flag dropped, and it was Elena Pirrone (Valcar Travel & Service) who managed to get away, quickly building up a 30-second advantage on her own. Josie Nelson (Coop Hitec Products) joined the Italian and represent the long-standing Norwegian team on home roads. After 20km of the stage, the pair had a 1:30 lead.

At the first Queen of the Mountains climb, the leader’s gap briefly shrunk and Blanka Vas (SD Worx) was briefly trying to bridge to the leaders. But the Hungarian was reabsorbed, the bunch relaxed and the gap grew again, going out to over three minutes after 50km of racing.

At 55km to go, a speed bump in the road caused a sizeable crash in the middle of the peloton, taking down several riders and holding up more with the road blocked. Just before the crash, BikeExchange-Jayco had been forcing the pace on the front of the bunch in anticipation of crosswinds, and as a result, there was no letting up to let the crashed riders get back on.

The peloton split into two but a big effort from the chasers brought it together going into the final 45km. The high pace slashed the leaders’ advantage, bringing them to within a minute of the bunch.

There were several breakaway attempts in the peloton heading towards the finishing circuit, and Lourdes Oyarbide (Movistar) got a gap and bridged to the leaders. However, the added firepower did little to help the break’s efforts, and all three riders were caught by 30km to go.

Attacks soon began again with Demi Vollering (SD Worx) and Vos trying to use the short ramps near the finish line to launch a move. When the race hit the finishing circuit, Alice Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) got away solo and had over 20 seconds on the peloton.

She was chased by Mie Ottestad (Uno-X), though the Norwegian struggled to close the gap and was caught on the first lap. Barnes held onto an advantage for the first two laps of the circuit, but repeated attacks behind saw the Canyon rider caught going into the final lap. Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo) and Vas were among the riders trying to make the race hard in the finale, but Vos and Liane Lippert (Team DSM) kept things under control, keen to keep the race together for a bunch finish.

Going into the last 3km, the sprint trains organized and the bunch was all together hitting the base of the final kick to the line. Vos was initially out of position but found her way around the bunch to place herself in second wheel. Uttrup Ludwig launched her sprint first, but the Dane had Vos locked on her wheel.

The yellow jersey was able to outsprint Uttrup Ludwig in the final meters, taking her third win in as many days. Uttrup Ludwig took second, whilst Bossuyt completed the podium.

Vos now leads the overall classification by 22 seconds over Bossuyt, who now tops the best young rider classification. Amber Kraak and Alison Jackson hold onto the mountains and sprints jerseys, though Jackson now leads the classification by just one point over Vos. The best Norwegian rider award went to Susanne Andersen (Uno-X).

It’s another rolling day across Norway on Friday with around 1,300m of gentle, but repetitive, climbing on the 120km route between Askim and Mysen. With a slight uphill finish in Mysen, it may be a chance for Vos to take yet another victory.

Results will be available once stage has completed.

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