The WorldTour peloton has already completed its first race after the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The Tour of Norway had four stages that were held in the south of the country.
During the first leg Anna Shackley managed to get the white jersey. In that ride, Elena Cecchini took a nasty fall. Luckily she was able to continue her way and finish the entire race.
The finish of the third stage was uphill, in the ski resort of Njorfell. A first in the Tour of Norway, because the finish of a stage in this race has never been on top of a mountain. Already in the first kilometer of the final climb we saw an attack by Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, but the South African climber couldn't stay away from the group of favourites.
In the last three kilometers Annemiek van Vleuten placed an attack and Moolman-Pasio and Cecile Uttrup Ludwig joined. However, the Olympic time trial champion turned out to be in a class of its own uphill. Moolman-Pasio crossed the line in second, confirming her good form. Niamh Fisher-Black crossed the line in eighth, moving up to first place in the youth standings. The final stage of the Tour of Norway ended in a bunch sprint in the streets of Halden. With two top-10 places for Team SD Worx with Christine Majerus and Elena Cecchini in fourth and seventh respectively.
Fisher-Black managed to maintain her lead in the youth classification in this fourth stage, winning her second white jersey in a WorldTour race after also winning the youth classification in the Vuelta a Burgos.
“We came for the win this weekend. But were beaten fairly on the deciding climb of the queen stage by Annemiek van Vleuten. Winning the white jersey was just a bonus from the few days of racing," Fisher-Black said after the finish.
Moolman-Pasio finishes thid race with a second place overall, behind van Vleuten. It's her second podium place in a stage race, after she also finishes second in the Giro Donne.
“I was very happy to be racing in Norway. After the Olympics it's always nice for me to join my trade team again, because at national team events I'm almost at my own. And yes, cycling is a team sport. I've enjoyed the race very hard. The girls were incredible and worked so hard throughout the stage race to really support me and go for the GC. On stage 3 I gave everything I could to try and go for the win, but in the end Annemiek van Vleuten was better. In general, we had a great race together, and with Niamh winning the young rider jersey. It was a competition between her and Anna Shackley, good to see the development of them and to be a part of that to help the to become better. And it was also a nice opportunity for me to race with some of the girls that I haven't had the change to race with yet, like Christine Majerus and Roxane Fournier. In general it was a very nice experience, and as a team we can be proud of our performances.”
Photo Credits: Getty Sport