The Vårgårda has been one of my favourite races since first covering it in 2015, the main reason being the beautiful countryside, the quiet, calming scenery with lush forests and the occasional rock formations. Plus the red houses. I love the red houses.
This year I was lucky enough to be shooting the race from a motorbike and it changed the whole day. Instead of rushing around in a car, I was able to go to my favourite spots without much hassle – having a solid breakaway for the most of the day was definitely a big help, as we could leapfrog them really easily. Also, the organisers managed to secure a helicopter, which didn’t affect our day, but it was probably enjoyable for those who watched the race from home and it showed the commitment of the organisers.
The finishing touch was the large tent that hosted the podium ceremony. It was a poignant moment as the riders entered the tent, everybody spontaneously stood up and gave them a standing ovation. It warmed my heart, it’s not something you often see (the standing ovation, not my heart warmed).
I’m on my way to Norway, preparing to shoot the Ladies Tour of Norway, starting on Thursday – be sure to come back for updates.
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig grimaces before the start
The peloton rolls together in the first few kilometers of the race
A young fan is pretty excited about the race arriving soon
Chantal Blaak leads a break up the climb
Lisa Klein takes a turn on the front
The peloton ascends the climb in the third short lap
It started to rain heavily as the riders started the long loop
Christine Majerus leads the peloton across the first gravel section
Sabrina Stultiens rides in the break of the day
The break approaches the second gravel section
Spectators at the roadside on the second gravel section
Alexandra Nessmarleads the break on the second gravel section
The break starts the second half of the long loop
Giorgia Bronzini looks at me!
FDJ set the pace of the chase
Hannah Payton works to bring back Alice Barnes after a mechanical issue
The break rides past a group of classical musicians
The break approach the end of the third gravel sector
Leaders sweep through the Swedish countryside
Lizzie Deignan rides the final gravel section
The leaders are caught on the sixth ascent of the climb of the short loop
Hannah Payton leans into a corner in the penultimate lap
Amy Pieters on the eighth ascent of the climb
Spectators celebrate the arrival of the peloton
Amy Pieters attacks in the final short lap
Lotta Lepistö wins theCrescent Vargarda
The bike of the winner
Lotta Lepistö ponders over post-race logistics
Gracie Elvin climbs onto the team bus
Marianne Vos chats to the recently retired Swedish rider, Emma Johansson