An exciting new stage race has officially taken up a spot on the 2022 Women’s WorldTour calendar.
The Tour of Scandinavia, also referred to as the Battle of the North, begins in Copenhagen on August 9. Over six days, the race will take riders on a 1,000 kilometer trek through Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. It will be the first ever Women’s WorldTour-race in Denmark, home of current road pros Cecile Uttrup Ludwig, Emma Norsgaard, and Amalie Dideriksen.
Due to the current events in Ukraine, the new race has undergone a last-minute name change.
“The intention was to launch the new race under the name Battle of The North, but the name has been temporarily changed to Tour of Scandinavia with the subtitle Battle of The North,” said general director Roy Moberg. “We have spent several years building the brand “Battle of The North” and significant resources have been invested in advance of the launch, but we do not want to use a name that can be linked to war as the world now appears. In respect with everyone who suffers as a result of the terrible war in Ukraine, we so far brand the riding concept as “Tour of Scandinavia”and tone down the use of the name Battle of The North.”
The race begins on August 9 from the Kongens Nytorv, a public square in Copenhagen, Denmark. The first stage crosses back and forth northbound on the island Sjælland to the finish in Helsingør.
After a transport to the island of Orust north of Gothenburg in Sweden, the Swedish stage will take the peloton north to the border city Strömstad. The route follows the Swedish west coast, one of the most popular holiday areas in the country.
Stage 3 travels through the region of Østfold, the home of the previous Ladies Tour of Norway. This is also where most of the race will be held. The route goes from Moss to Sarpsborg through Son, Våler, then won the coast by Saltnes and Onsøy to the outskirts of Fredrikstad and finishing with three local laps and a familiar finish line in Sarpsborg.
Stage 4 is the so-called ”Indre Østfold-stage.” Similar to last year’s Ladies Tour of Norway, the start will be in Askim and the finish in Mysen. This year’s route is a bit different, but the riders will cross back and forth between Askim, Trøgstad, Mysen, Skiptvet and Spydeberg. There is one final lap, identical with the one from last years LToN.
”The Queen Stage” is on Saturday, August 13. It begins near the ski jumping hill Vikersundsbakken. After one lap around Åmot and back to Vikersund, the route goes through Simostrand, the home of Olympic biathlon hero Ole Einar Bjørndalen and north to the lake Krøderen. Following this on the north side to Noresund where the 10 km long climb to the finish at Norefjell Ski &Spa. The race may be decided here.
The final stage goes from the city of Lillestrøm just east of Oslo to Halden. First, riders travel southbound from Fetsund along the lake Øyeren on road 22, then further southeast through Hemnes and Ørje before following the beautiful lakes at Haldenvassdraget to the finishing city. There, three technical laps should create plenty of drama for the crowds in Halden.
Competition and coverage
Last year the Olympic TT-champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) won the Ladies Tour of Norway with a final attack on the climb to Norefjell. Earlier editions have been dominated by the Dutch superstar Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) — the race has largely been for punchy riders with a fast finish, and Vos has dominated that corner of the peloton’s skillset.
This year the organizers hope that Danish, Swedish and Norwegian ladies will benefit from a homefield advantage.
Denmark has several top riders looking forward to the first edition in Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ), Emma Norsgaard (Movistar), and the former world champion Amalie Dideriksen (Trek-Segafredo), while Emilia Fahlin (FDJ) will represent Sweden.
The new Norwegian World Team Uno-X will also be represented by riders from all three countries.
The race organizer is also working on having the national teams from Denmark and Norway at the start. 21 teams of six riders apiece are currently slated to start the Tour of Scandinavia.
As for TV broadcasting, the race will be shown on Eurosport and Discovery. In Norway, TV2 will provide live coverage.