The Sports Examiner

CYCLING Preview: Vos starts Scandinavian sked looking for fourth PostNord Vargarda win

Dutch cycling star Marianne Vos

The final third of the 2019 UCI Women’s World Tour moves to Scandinavia for four of the next five races, which have taken on more importance with the announcement last March that a 10-stage “Battle of the North” will be staged in three countries in 2021. The 2019 schedule:

16 August: PostNord Vargarda WestSweden Team Time Trial (35.6 km)
18 August: PostNord Vargarda WestSweden Road Race (145.3 km)
22-25 August: Ladies Tour of Norway
● (31 August ~ GP de Plouay in France)
03-08 September: Holland Ladies Tour

The idea is to combine the Swedish races and Ladies Tour of Norway with the PostNord Danmark Rundt for a 10-stage program that would rival Italy’s Giro Rosa as the top women’s cycling race in the world. (This would not impact the Holland Ladies Tour.)

This would be an important development for the Women’s World Tour, but more immediate is the two races in Vargarda this weekend. The Time Trial on Friday will feature 15 teams over a flat, 35.6 km course.

The road race on Sunday is a bit more challenging, finishing with six hilly loops over a 145.3 km route. Eight former medalists will return:

● Marianne Vos (NED) ~ Winner in 2009-13-18; runner-up in 2017; third in 2012
● Amy Pieters (NED) ~ Second in 2014; third in 2013
● Chantal Blaak (NED) ~ Winner in 2014
● Ellen van Dijk (NED) ~ Second in 2011
● Roxane Knetemann (NED) ~ Third in 2014
● Lisa Brennauer (GER) ~ Third in 2015
● Charlotte Becker (GER) ~ Third in 2008
● Leah Kirchmann (CAN) ~ Third in 2017

Vos has owned this race, with five medals over the last 10 years; in fact, she has finished in the top 10 in seven of her nine appearances in the race. Vos has won twice on tour this season, including the La Course by Le Tour de France on 19 July.

She can also use the points if she wants to get back into the chase for the seasonal lead:

1. 1,367.67 ~ Annemiek van Vleuten (NED)
2. 1,106.17 ~ Kasia Niewiadoma (POL)
3. 1,018.00 ~ Marianne Voss (NED)
4. 826.33 ~ Anna van der Breggen (NED)
5. 790.00 ~ Lorena Wiebes (NED)

The top spots get 200-150-125-100-85 points for the Vargarda Road Race. Dutch riders have been amazing this season, winning 11 of the 16 races held so far, and eight of the 13 prior editions of the Vargarda WestSweden Road Race. Look for results here.

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