Vårgårda Team Road Race 2017

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

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