After already racing successfully in Sweden for a week, Team Coop – Hitec Products has also done well in the Tour of Scandinavia. In the World Tour race that had one stage in both Denmark and Sweden, and then four stages in Norway, all riders of the team showed themselves. Josie Nelson surprised with the best result of the week, a 4th place on the queen stage on Saturday, that finished on top of Norefjell. Mari Hole Mohr won the jersey of best Norwegian rider on the final stage.
In six days of racing, all riders of the team were involved in attacks, while Ingvild Gaskjenn was the best classified rider in the general classification, ending 29th. Five of the six stages ended in a bunch sprint, in which Nicole Steigenga on the first stage took the best result for the team, finishing in 11th spot. It was Josie however, who got 4th on the long climb on Saturday, after a big effort to fight back to a small group of riders that was racing for that 4th place.
“It’s been an amazing week here in Scandinavia”, Josie looked back after the final stage of the race on the highest level of women’s cycling. “It is such a beautiful area. We’ve raced well as a team all week and it’s been a really good experience. I felt strong on yesterday’s stage, so I put everything into the hill at the end and got my best ever result, so I’m really happy with that!”
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Sylvie in a long breakaway
On the last stage, Sylvie Swinkels was in a breakaway of five riders for a long time. “After about 25 kilometers of racing and several attacks, two riders were given space right away”, she looks back on it. “I jumped towards them with another rider in my wheel. Later Femke Markus joined, leaving us with 5. The cooperation was good, so at one point we had a lead of almost 6 minutes. Eating, drinking and cycling was what we had to do. The rider of Liv Racing got a flat tire and so we missed a rider we needed. Unfortunately, just before the local lap we were taken back.”
Showing the jersey
Sylvie looked back on a good week, for herself and the team. “In the beginning I was quite curious what my level would be. After the Baloise Ladies Tour I took a break and I would mainly work here for the team and ‘show’ our jersey. We have done this well, in my opinion. In the first day I was in a few short attacks after which Ingvild and I got Nicole in the right position for the sprint. In addition, Josie has been in a long attack and we have put in some good short results as a team, despite the high level of this race.”
Photo’s: Jørgen Mo / Organisation – Photo top; Josie in the leading group during the 5th stage.