Kraak among the best in opening stage Tour of Scandinavia

Kraak among the best in opening stage Tour of Scandinavia

Amber Kraak has finished in the front group after a tough finish to the opening stage of the Tour of Scandinavia. The 29-year-old Dutchwoman narrowly missed a top-ten finish after a sprint from a reduced peloton. Lorena Wiebes took the stage win.

The ninth edition of the Tour of Scandinavia started on Norwegian soil. From Mysen, the peloton headed towards Halden. On the way, the riders had to climb three hills, with the double climb to the Fredriksten Fortress at the end being the highlight. Zoe Backstedt and Tiril Jorgensen tried to attack in the early stages. Jorgensen opened up a lead of around three minutes on the peloton, with Team Jumbo-Visma riding vigilantly at the front. The Norwegian was caught just before the first climb to the Fredriksten Fortress.

On the first of two climbs to the fortress, a 16-rider breakaway, including Kraak, formed. In a spirited final, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig attempted a late attack. Wiebes caught the Danish rider in the last metres and won the sprint from a reduced peloton. Kraak, who was also in the lead group, finished 12th.

"It was a hectic run-up to the local laps," Kraak said. "Thanks to the good work of the team, I was able to reach the circuit in a favourable position. I could always follow well on the climbs, but I didn't feel strong enough to launch an attack. Looking back, I'm glad I was able to ride at the front. In the next few days I expect the same race situations. Tomorrow too, the race will be made hard in the final kilometres."

"Amber reed een uitstekende finale en ze gaf een goede indruk bergop"

Carmen Small

Race director Carmen Small: "Our first goal of the day was to go for the intermediate sprint with Teuntje (Beekhuis). She took three points there, so that was successful. We knew the race would get tight on the local laps in Halden. The girls did an excellent job keeping Amber in front, entering the crucial corners. After that, it was up to Amber to survive, and she did. I am happy with the result. We rode well as a group, which was very important on a stage like today. Amber rode an excellent final and made a good impression on the climb. I am looking forward to what the following stages will bring.”

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