The route of the fourth edition of the Arctic Race of Norway was been unveiled on Wednesday. The race, which is due take place in August, begins further south than in recent years with the race straddling either side of the Arctic Circle. The organisers hope that it will provide opportunities for sprinters and puncheurs.
“This 4th edition of the Arctic Race of Norway promises to be balanced and exciting. All types of riders will have good opportunities, with at least two sprint finishes and stage 3 as Queen Stage,” said race ambassador and winner of the first edition Thor Hushovd. “I can hardly tell which rider is going to be the race leader at the end of every stage and I am curious to see to what extent can the likes of Alexander Kristoff be fighting for the overall victory”
The race will begin in Fauske - the northernmost point for the 2016 race - on August 11 and will pass through the Saltstraumen strait, which contains the strongest tidal current in the world. Three categorised climbs also lie in front of the riders with the final summit of Ljøsenhammeren coming around 22km away from the finish in Rognan. The riders will head south of the Arctic Circle for day two to Mo I Rana. The longest stage of the race will pick its way along the coast, over one categorised climb and finish in Sandnessjøen. Crosswinds will be an ever-present risk throughout the day and the uphill slope in Sandnessjøen will make for a challenging finale.
Moving north a little, but remaining below the Arctic Circle, the race’s queen stage will begin in Niesa. There is a total of four categorised climbs on the day with a summit finish to Korgfjellet. Stage 3 is likely to decide the overall winner of the race although there is still an opportunity on the last day to steal the leader’s jersey.
The final stage is the second longest at 193km, and will start on the exact point of the Arctic Circle in the municipality of Rana and finishes in Bodø where the first race began in 2013. The riders will start descending almost immediately as they head north. The stage rarely levels out during the opening half with three climbs in quick succession after the initial descent. After 160km, the peloton will enter the final circuit in Bodø, crossing the line three times before the final sprint for victory.
Rein Taaramae won last year’s race, eight seconds ahead of Silvan Dillier, after a late attack on the final stage. The 2016 edition will take place between August 11-14.
2016 Arctic Race of Norway
Thursday 11 August, stage 1: Fauske – Rognan, 176 km
Friday, August 12, stage 2: Mo I Rana – Sandnessjøen, 198 km
Saturday, August 13, stage 3: Nesna – Korgfjellet, 160 km
Sunday August 14, stage 4: Arctic Circle (Rana Kommune) – Bodø, 193 km