Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) won stage three of the Ladies Tour of Norway on Saturday afternoon as the Olympic time trial champion impressed at the Norefjell climb.
The Dutch rider attacked with 3km to go, with just Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Team SD Worx) and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) able to stay in touch until the final half-kilometre saw Van Vlueten pull away for a decisive win.
Moolman-Pasio took second, 35 seconds back, with Mavi Garcia (Alé BTC Ljubljana) striking to usurp Ludwig, 41 seconds behind.
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Uttrup ultimately finished in fifth, with Marlen Reusser in fourth.
The win means that 38-year-old veteran Van Vleuten is now the race leader, with the yellow jersey holder 39 seconds ahead of Moolman-Pasio and 47 from Garcia, with tomorrow’s final stage the decider.
“I came here to this race trying not to soak in too much pressure after the Olympics, just to see how I was going, but with the team working hard for me all day, putting everything together with such an amazing job, I felt another kind of pressure, which was trying to finish things off for them. I went all out when I attacked." Van Vleuten said.
"In the end, Ashleigh Moolman went and I attacked over it. I felt that she could follow me, but I just committed, did not look back and kept on going, and I didn’t even know what was happening behind after I attacked, because I just went to ‘maximum hurt’.
"It was a beautiful win here - it’s so nice to be racing here in Norway, and I look forward to defending this tomorrow with the team. It will be another hard day for us again, but I think I have an experienced team around me, so I’m not nervous for tomorrow.”
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