Sport Round-Up: Danish cycling success keeps on coming … this time in the women’s Tour de France

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig’s victory in the third stage of the inaugural Tour de France Femme yesterday was the perfect tonic for her team Française des Jeux following a brutal Monday in the saddle that sidelined team-mate Marta Cavalli after a horror crash. 

In the history of the men’s race, you’d struggle to find a case of cycling more reckless than the example of Australian rider Nicole Frain in Stage 2, when she attempted to weave her way through a crash scene full-pelt. 

Frain poleaxed Cavalli, leaving her motionless on the ground (see video below), as she herself went flying. But while Frain was able to complete the stage, Cavalli’s race was decidedly over.

Explosive sprinting
Ludwig, who lost 98 seconds due to a crash on Monday, was understandably keen to restore some team spirit, and when she broke free from a pack of ten just 100 metres from the end, nobody could live with her pace.

Complete with a Dannebrog on her jersey, this was another occasion for Denmark to celebrate, as Ludwig won the race by two seconds to place her 10th in the overall rankings, 108 seconds behind leader Marianne Vos. 

“It was a fucking shit day yesterday,” said Ludwig. “But winning in this jersey, it doesn’t get better. What a victory man: this is for the team … they did such a good job yesterday and they kept believing in me.”

The Tour de France Femme concludes this Sunday following two full-on mountain stages that are expected to really test the field.

FCM guaranteed Europa League group stage place … but they want more
FC Midtjylland yesterday eliminated Cypriot side AEK Larnaca to advance to the penultimate qualifying round of the Champions League, but it was a close affair, with the Danish side eventually prevailing 4-3 on penalties. The win guarantees FCM a place in the Europa League group stage, regardless of the result of their next fixture against Benfica. Following a 1-1 draw at home last week, the game in Cyprus again finished a goal apiece and extra time failed to find a winner, despite Larnaca hitting the woodwork in the 116th minute. Against Benfica, the first game is in Lisbon on August 2 and the return leg on August 9. Should FCM win, they’ll join FC Copenhagen in the playoffs, where they, unlike FCK, won’t be drawn against a league champion. Should they lose against Benfica or in the playoffs, they’ll qualify for the Europa League group stage.

Vingegaard shoots up world rankings … but he’ll always be Denmark’s #1
Jonas Vingegaard is now number four in the UCI world rankings, behind Slovenian duo Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic and Dutch sprinter Wout van Aert. The list is rarely cited by media, but it is notable that Vingegaard’s team Jumbo-Visma now holds three of the top four positions. In related news, Vingegaard is expected on the balcony of Copenhagen City Hall at 13:45, and then at Tivoli at 16:00, where the themepark has set a limit of 25,000 guests for the occasion. It has been reported that Vingegaard won 3.7 million kroner for winning the Tour de France, plus 186,000 kroner for taking the King of the Mountains jersey and his slice of the Jumbo-Visma bonus.

Eriksen enjoys first training session with the Red Devils
Christian Eriksen yesterday completed his first training session with his new club Manchester United, which he officially joined on July 15. It is expected he might make his debut in a training match behind closed doors against Welsh outfit Wrexham, and then play against either Atlético Madrid or Rayo Vallecano on Saturday or Sunday.

Semi appearance following stroke of luck in the hurdles
Mette Graversgaard made the last 24 of the 100-metre hurdles at the 2022 World Athletics Championships, which concluded in Eugene over the weekend – the closest Denmark came to a medal. She finished last in her semi in a time of 13.05 seconds – one hundredth of a second slower than in the heats – and only qualified because the defending world champion fell. Graversgaard was also part of the women’s 4 x 100 metre relay team that set a new national record, but failed to make the final, finishing sixth equal in their heat. 

Mags run comes to an end in French GP
Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen was forced to retire at the French Grand Prix after 40 laps, while Haas co-driver Mick Schumacher could only manage a lowly 15th. Their failure ended a run of two races in which both drivers had finished in the points. Magnussen remains 11th in the overall standings, with Schmacher back in 15th – aptly the same position he finished at Le Castellet.

Dane holds onto UFC place with gutsy win
MMA fighter Nicholas Dalby, 37, notched up a creditable victory in the UFC, the highest level of the sport, in London over the weekend. He got the better of Claudio Silva from Brazil on points after all three judges agreed he was the winner. Defeat would have probably cost him his place in the UFC. Another Dane at the same meeting, Damir Hadzovic, lost his fight to Mark Diakiese from Britain.

If only Denmark’s sole British Open entry could wind back the clock …
Either the golfers have got a lot better, or the St Andrews course has become easier to play, as the finishing score of Nicolai Højgaard, the only Danish entry in the British Open, would have been enough to win the 1946 edition on the ‘Old Course’. Højgaard first made the cut thanks to an impressive second round of 67 – five under par – and then an even par performance over the concluding rounds resulted in him finishing tied for 53rd on -4, some 16 shots adrift of winner Cameron Smith. The Dane took home prize money of just over 35,000 US dollars.