2015.08.14 - News reporter
Emma Johansson is back in action on her home stomping grounds this weekend at the Ladies Tour of Norway. The new event on the womenâ€™s calendar begins with a criterium on Friday evening that serves as a warm-up for two-day UCI stage race over the weekend. With two World Cups in Sweden the following weekend, theâ€little Tour of Scandinaviaâ€ serves as a source of pride for Johansson who relishes in having the womenâ€™s peloton in her home country and birth country.
â€œIâ€™m really excited that Tour of Scandinavia is starting today,â€ said Johansson. â€œOf course, I know thatâ€™s not the official name, but itâ€™s what I call it. The fact that weâ€™re racing Norway, which is the country where I live, and then in Sweden, which is the country where Iâ€™m from, always makes me very happy.â€
â€œItâ€™s a big goal for me to do well in these race,â€ noted Johansson. â€œI had some good training rides at home. I feel like Iâ€™m rested, and Iâ€™m hungry for races.â€
Anna van der Breggen (Rabo Liv) won the inaugural Ladies Tour of Norway last year, and she returns to defend her title. Although only in its second year, the weekend stage race boasts a stellar start list, and Johansson isnâ€™t the only rider highly motivated for a top result.
Both stages of the two-day Norwegian race are held over lumpy terrain. They cross between Sweden and Norway multiple times, showcasing the beauty of the region.
The VÃ¥rgÃ¥rda World Cups follow the Ladies Tour of Norway the following weekend with a team time trial on Friday and a road race on Sunday. Johansson, sitting out the team time trial, hopes to leave her mark on Sundayâ€™s circuit race. Sheâ€™s thrice finished on the podium â€“ second in 2013 and third in 2010, 2009.
â€œWhatâ€™s special about these races is the surroundings,â€ said Johansson. â€œWe have heaps of forests and colourful houses. Itâ€™s very typically Scandinavian. Itâ€™s very pretty in a different way from other parts of the worlds.â€
â€œThe air is very fresh,â€ Johansson added. â€œYou have a sort of autumn feeling in the morning and, when the weather is good, a summer feeling in the day. Scandinavian summer is the best summer. It doesnâ€™t get horribly hot. Itâ€™s just perfect.â€
â€œFor me, whatâ€™s most special about these races is that everyone gets to come to the place that Iâ€™m from and the place that I live and see the surroundings that I see all the time,â€ Johansson explained. â€œI really like that, and when people call Sweden â€˜paradiseâ€™ that makes me really proud to be Swedish.â€
Both Ladies Tour of Norway and the VÃ¥rgÃ¥rda World Cups set a gold standard in terms of race coverage. Both races will be live streamed online. The Ladies Tour of Norway will be broadcast on TV as a highlights package each evening while the Swedish World Cups are shown in real-time on TV. The social media accounts for both races are stellar and contribute the easy and enjoyable fan follow-along experience. Keep an eye on Johanssonâ€™s Twitter account for links to where you can watch.
Name: Emma Karolina Johansson.
Born: 23 Sep 1983, Sollefteå, Sweden.
Team: Wiggle High5
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