‘Tour de France for women’ set for Scandinavia in 2021

Cycling
Marianne Vos wins the final stage of the 2018 Ladies Tour of Norway

A new 10-stage race in Scandinavia described as “the Tour de France for women” is set to begin in 2021.

The Battle of North will be held across Denmark, Norway and Sweden over 11 days in August.

It will replace the existing four-stage Ladies Tour of Norway and the team time trial and road race events in Vargarda, Sweden, on the Women’s World Tour.

The only other 10-stage women’s race is the Giro Rosa, which is the sole Grand Tour on the women’s calendar.

“It’s a very exciting concept and I’m really looking forward to it,” said three-time world champion Marianne Vos, who has won the last two editions of the Ladies Tour of Norway.

The plan is for three stages each in Denmark and Sweden before finishing with four in Norway.

The Ladies Tour of Norway proposed the event and worked with organisers of the World Tour events in Vargarda and the Danish Cycling Union to finalise the concept.

“We are planning for the world’s elite on site, millions of TV viewers and of course thousands of spectators along the course,” said Ladies Tour of Norway race director Roy Moberg.

It will be the first time a Women’s World Tour race has run in Denmark and will follow Copenhagen hosting the start of the men’s Tour de France earlier in 2021.

The Giro Rosa, the equivalent of the men’s Giro d’Italia, runs in July and generally overlaps with the men’s Tour de France.

With the Battle of North set to take place in August, it may coincide with the men’s Vuelta a Espana, although the Spanish Grand Tour usually starts later in the month and runs until mid-September.

This year’s team time trial and road race in Vargarda take place on 16 and 18 August respectively, while the Ladies Tour of Norway runs from 22-25 August.

The second-longest women’s race is the Women’s Tour in Britain, which will increase to six stages for 2019.

There was a women’s Tour de France – the Tour de France Feminin – which ran alongside the men’s race for five years from 1984.

But the 18-stage race dwindled over the years as a result of low investment, missing editions and a rebrand forced by a legal challenge from the previous organisers of the men’s Tour. The final version was the 2009 Grande Boucle, which featured only four stages.

Tour de France organisers ASO currently run La Course, a one-day women’s race during the men’s event.

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