The fourth annual Arctic Race of Norway starts tomorrow. And the three counties of Northern Norway have just extended their contract with the race for another three years.
Some of the world’s top pro cyclists, last seen earlier this summer in the French Alps, are just now preparing for a new, demanding race.
A record 22 teams are starting this year's Arctic Race of Norway (ARN), beginning tomorrow, on Thursday 11 August, at Fauske in Nordland.
Among the profiles on the starting line are the world champion Philippe Gilbert, defending ARN champion Rein Taaramäe, and Sylvain Chavanel – the legend that has been part of the Tour de France 16 times.
They’ll cycle from Fauske to Rognan in the first stage, then from Mo i Rana to Sandnessjøen, and onwards from Nesna to Korgfjellet on Saturday.
The fourth and final stage, on Sunday 14 August, then takes the cyclists from the Arctic Circle to the finish line in Bodø. The cyclists will cover an overall distance of 727.5 kilometres.
This is the fourth annual edition of the Arctic Race of Norway. It has been such a positive experience that the three counties of Northern Norway will extend the contract with ARN for another three years.
This involves a contribution of a total of 45 million Norwegian kroner, as they recently announced in a press release (article in Norwegian only).
“With the first three editions of the race, the Arctic Race visited all three Northern counties, and it’s been a great experience for everyone here. We have been able to showcase the region at its best, and we’ll continue to do that,” the county councillor in Troms, Cecilie Myrseth, says in the release.
The county mayor in Finnmark, Runar Sjåstad, agrees:
“The Arctic Race of Norway is the world's northernmost cycling race and it was an amazing sight when the North Cape was conquered by top international cyclists. We look forward to getting the race back to Finnmark,” he said.
This year's race will be shown on 180 TV channels around the world, potentially bringing a lot of positive attention to the region.
“The cyclists will be followed by numerous TV cameras, minute by minute, through the stunning scenery of Helgeland and Salten,” Knut-Eirik Dybdal in ARN says in the release.
Among the Norwegians starting the race are a few rising stars that can make their mark on the scoreboards. Our most famous cyclist, though, the sprinter Alexander Kristoff, is primary going for stage wins.
“I'm really looking forward to starting up again after the Tour de France with the Arctic Race. I stand at the starting line to win stages, though I think the overall victory will go to the climbers,” Kristoff told the NRK (article in Norwegian only)
Make sure to check in on our Instagram this week, as the account has been taken over by Visit Helgeland for the Arctic Race. You find us at @VisitNorway
Whether you want a challenging slog up a mountain top or a gentle trip between pretty small towns, the varied landscape in Norway will provide you with a suitable challenge.
Thor Hushovd is considered the greatest Norwegian cyclist of all time. Among his merits are winning The UCI Road World Championship and several stages of the Tour de France. He takes a rare break to talk about his preferred rides all over Norway that feature what he loves the most: untouched nature.