Wind, rain and an uphill sprint for stage two at the Ladies Tour of NorwaySat 18 Aug 2018
The second stage of the Ladies Tour of Norway finished with a tough uphill sprint today into Sarpsborg where Gracie Elvin was the highest finisher for Mitchelton-SCOTT in 15th place.
Marianne Vos (Waowdeals) took a consecutive stage win and after also gaining bonus seconds throughout the day she moves into the overall race lead with Elvin slipping down some places to 11th.
Tough weather conditions
Unlike yesterday's sunny stage, the riders were welcomed by rain showers at the start of today's day two but that didn't dampen the action in the peloton as multiple riders tried attacks however no moves were able to stick.
With heavy rain and wind, the bunch was often strung out with splits occurring but always things came back together again.
A gravel section and intermediate sprints with bonus seconds up for grabs kept things together as the GC riders sprinted it out to try and increase their overall lead.
Attacks throughout the final
The race really began to heat up on the final four finishing laps of a 6.3km circuit with Mitchelton-SCOTT working to follow moves and keep Elvin safe for a potential final sprint.
With 16km remaining Elvin jumped away into a very dangerous move with five riders containing all race favourites except Boels-Dolmans who miss the move, therefore the group wasn't given much freedom and was quickly reeled back in.
With eight kilometres to go Mitchelton-SCOTT began to drive the pace into the final lap to keep the tempo hard ahead of a likely bunch kick.
Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) launched a late attack with three kilometres to go but she too was swallowed up by the strung out peloton before Canyon-Sram took over at the front and set up Kasia Niewiadoma who began to sprint with 400metres to go.
With the group in one long line as the sprint opened up and the road went up, the riders crossed the line with small gaps between each other as Vos came out on top as the day's winner.
"It was a tough stage, no huge climbs but there was a lot of wind and a lot of rain so there were never any moments where you could really relax. These are always hard days because they are both physically and mentally stressful. The strongest crosswind sections were quite short and still a long way from the circuit so even though it split a few times it came back together before we entered the finish circuits.
"Our plan today was to support Gracie again, she is our clear leader here. We did a good job before the first intermediate sprint but unfortunately a few others were faster. In the finish loops I covered as many attacks as I could so Gracie could save energy and then she was really good at just jumping in the really critical moves. It was a good situation for us when she got in the main break on the finish circuits but unfortunately Boels-Dolmans missed it so they chased hard to bring it back.
"Into the last lap we wanted to make sure Gracie was positioned well and could use other teams in the last couple of kilometres. Alex Manly did a great job into the final lap and then I could take over from there, I was completely empty after my work so I wasn’t much help in those last two kilometres but Gracie is good at picking the right spot to be in.
"The uphill finish was hard and especially after this kind of race. The last laps were hard with a lot of attacks so I don’t think anyone was feeling really great today for that final sprint, so we were more than happy to back Gracie and give her the opportunity.
"I think in general we raced well today as a team, we had two major points early with the gravel sector and the intermediate sprint where we wanted to be in front and we did these perfectly. We also managed the final laps well with the numbers that we had."
Ladies Tour of Norway stage 2 results:
1. Marianne Vos (Waowdeals) 3:11
2. Emilia Fahlin (Wiggle-High5) ST
3. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-Sram) ST
15. Gracie Elvin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:19
General classification after stage 2:
1. Marianne Vos (Waowdeals)
2. Emilia Fahlin (Wiggle-High5) +0:18
3. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-Sram) +0:28
11. Gracie Elvin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:51
Photos courtesy of Getty Images