If you’re hungry for more exciting stage racing following the inaugural Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, there isn’t long to wait as the women’s peloton go to battle once more on the 9th August. This time, it’s a far cry from the rolling hills of rural France, instead they will race against the striking, dramatic backdrop of Scandinavia over six days.
Things kick off in Copenhagen, a city that has had its fair share of cycling fever in the last few weeks with the Grand Depart of the men’s Tour de France taking place in the city. We can expect big crowds and plenty of excitement from the Danes who have enjoyed an incredibly successful season of cycling with Jonas Vingegaard taking the overall win in the men’s Tour de France and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig winning a stage of the women’s.
The route then heads into Sweden for one day only, as the peloton will race along the stunning coast at Bohuslän. The final four stages take place in Norway – the Tour of Scandinavia is an improved and extended edition of the Ladies Tour of Norway which has been on the women’s professional racing calendar since 2014. Perhaps the most punishing stage of the race is on the penultimate day, it finishes up a 11.1 kilometre climb that averages a 6.1% gradient. Tour de France Femmes winner Annemiek van Vleuten took victory when the Ladies Tour of Norway finished on this climb in 2021.
While the newly crowned Tour de France champion isn’t expected to start in this race, there are still some big names due to be competing. Perhaps the most standout favourite of them all is Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig of FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope who will be hoping to perform well in front of a home crowd. The Dane proved her form at the Tour and is a strong contender to take victory overall here.
Read on for a full outline of the route, contenders and our prediction to take the victory in the inaugural Tour of Scandinavia.
Tour of Scandinavia 2022 Route
Stage one, Copenhagen – Helsingør (DEN), 145,6 km
The opening day of the Tour of Scandinavia begins in the famous square of Kongens Nytorv in Denmark’s capital of Copenhagen. A QOM sprint comes after just 17 kilometres of racing. It takes place on the Søllerød slotsbakke climb which is 500 metres at 5% average gradient – this shouldn’t put any riders in trouble but will mean a fast start to the race. From then on, it’s a flat stage with one intermediate sprint point after 55 kilometres. The peloton will enter the finishing circuit after 109 kilometres to complete three local laps around the city of Helsingøﬁr. It’s a flat sprint to the finish line that will be hotly contested by the sprinters.
Stage two, Orust – Strömstad (SWE), 154 km
The second stage of the race is a flat, point-to-point route which begins in Bohuslän, Sweden. Like the day before, there are no hugely significant climbs here to trouble the sprinters – just two QOM sprint points. The first comes at 34.3 kilometres to go and is 2.7 kilometres long at an average gradient of 2.8% (a maximum of 7%.) There are two intermediate sprint points before the second QOM sprint at 108.9 kilometres. It’s another relatively tame climb at one kilometre with a 5.2% average. The finish is a technical but flat run into Strömstad.
Stage three, Moss – Sarpsborg (NOR), 119 km
The peloton will begin the final three stages in Norway with an undulating route to Sarpsborg. The first QOM sprint of the stage after 24 kilometres is tougher than anything seen in the race so far, the gradient ramps up to 9%. The second QOM sprint comes after 86.4 kilometres and also has gradients nearing 10%. Unlike the previous two days, there are no finishing laps in Sarpsborg and the peloton has a slightly uphill sprint to the line. The last time this finish was used in the Ladies Tour of Norway in 2021, Kristen Faulkner took the victory after making a solo breakaway with 20 kilometres to go and just holding off a chasing peloton.
Stage four, Askim – Mysen (NOR), 119,2 km
We reach hillier terrain in stage four on roads that the women’s peloton faced in the Ladies Tour of Norway last year – the climbs were enough to split the peloton then. Two QOM sprint points after 20 kilometres and 80 kilometres respectively could make things tricky for the pure sprinters, as could the uphill finish to Mysen. Riejanne Markus and Coryn Rivera finished first and second in 2021, showing that this is a route that suits punchier riders and is prime terrain for a breakaway win.
Stage five , Vikersund – Norefjell, 127,4 km
This is the Queen stage of the Tour of Scandinavia and will likely decide the winner of the overall general classification. It’s a gradual start to the stage with two local laps of Vikersund, but things start to gradually ramp up as they get closer to the final climb. It begins after 114 kilometres of racing and will last for 11.4 kilometres, averaging 6.1%. Annemiek van Vleuten took a solo win on the climb in last year’s race, proving it is one for the strongest mountain goats. It flattens slightly in the final kilometre but we can expect the race to already be split up by this point.
Stage six, Lillestrøm – Halden, 153,4 km
The final stage of the race could be another one for the sprinters but it certainly won’t be a stress-free run to the line. Two QOM points and sprint points come in the opening 134.4 kilometres of the race before the peloton hit three laps of the final finishing circuits. These closing laps are fast, difficult and technical, so we can expect some high drama to round out the week.
The stand out riders on the current start list for the Tour of Scandinavia are FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope’s Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig – a stage winner at the Tour de France Femmes who is well-suited to the final climb and will hope to impress a home crowd – and Team SD Worx's Demi Vollering. The Dutch rider finished second at the Tour de France Femmes and won the polka dot jersey, plus she was the closest challenger to Annemiek van Vleuten of Movistar in the mountains. Van Vleuten won't be starting the race in Copenhagen, so her Movistar teammates, such as Sarah Gigante and Katrine Aalerud, will be looking to take a rare chance of leadership opportunity here.
Marianne Vos of Jumbo-Visma is the other big name on the start list. The final Queen stage may be too much for the legendary Dutch rider but the punchy stages earlier on in the race will be extremely well-suited to her. She proved at the Tour de France Femmes she is in fantastic stage-winning form so it will be interesting to see if she carries this with her to the Tour of Scandinavia.
Liane Lippert will be Team DSM's GC hopeful – the German rider performed well in the Tour de France Femmes. Charlotte Kool will be able to have her chance in the sprint stages for the team as their main sprinter Lorena Wiebes is not starting this race. Canyon//SRAM bring a team of promising young climbers including Mikayla Harvey and Neve Bradbury, both of whom will want to make their mark on the WorldTour stage. Alice Barnes could also contest the sprint finishes earlier on in the race for the German team.
Joscelin Lowden of Team UNO-X is another rider who will look to perform well in the hillier stages, especially riding for a Norwegian team. Lowden showed strong form in the Tour de France Femmes with a good breakaway effort on stage five.
Teams such as Trek-Segafredo look to have brought a roster focussed on the sprint stages, with Chloe Hosking likely their protected sprinter. Shari Bossuyt of Canyon//SRAM is another one to watch in the fast finishes, as is Alexandra Manly of Team Bike Exchange-Jayco and Susanne Andersen of Team UNO-X. Barbara Guarischi of Movistar will likely be the Spanish team's chosen rider for the sprint stages as Emma Norsgaard is not starting in Copenhagen.
Where to watch:
GCN/Eurosport will be streaming every stage live on their digital channels starting on the 9th August at 15:15 GMT. Eurosport 1 will show each stage live apart from on the final day where it will be a delayed broadcast.
In Norway TV2 is broadcasting the race live and on their digital platform TV2 Play. 6 Eren will broadcast the race live in Denmark while Kanal 9 is the channel in Sweden.
Tour of Scandinavia can also be seen delayed in South America and Africa. Claro Sports in South America and Super Sports in Africa will air the show delayed and you can also see highlights on UCI’s own YouTube-channel.