Eight Tour de France teams, including four WorldTour teams, will tackle the world’s northernmost race - the Arctic Race of Norway, between August 16-19. The four stages cover a total of 732 kilometres in the Finnmark region of Norway.
2017 winner Dylan Teuns is expected to lead BMC Racing Team, with Astana, Dimension Data, and Katusha-Alpecin also representing the WorldTour. Direct Energie, Wanty-Gobert, Cofidis and Fortuneo-Samsic are the four Professional Continental teams which are also in this year’s Tour de France.
The field will be also include Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Vital Concept club, WB Aquaproject Veranclassic, Delko Marseille Provence KTM, Rally Cycling, Holowesko, CCC Sprandi Polkowice, Israel Cycling Academy, Team Coop, Joker Icporal Pro Cycling, UNO-X Norwegian Development Team and Team Corendon–Circus.
In addition to Teuns, other big names in the race will include Nacer Bouhanni of Cofidis and Andrea Pasqualon of Wanty-Gobert. 2017 Tour de France King of the Mountains Warren Barguil is also slated to appear.
“He will find the route to his liking,” the race website suggestd. “The second stage, which boasts an elevation gain of 2700 m, will be tougher than any other one in the history of this race.”
Cyclo-cross and mountain bike racer Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) may be a joker in the field. Race organiser ASO describe him as “increasingly hailed as the new Peter Sagan,” and suggest the Dutchman will bring “his explosive power to bear and light the fireworks of the race that has been tailor-cur for punchers.”
For only the second time in its six-year history, the Arctic Race of Norway will stay entirely within a single county with all four stages held in the northern Finnmark area.
The route crosses Finnmark from east to west, starting with a 190.5km stage from Vadsø, the administrative centre of Finnmark, to Kirkenes, the last town before the Russian border. The peloton will roll out of Tana for a 195km ride to Kjøllefjord on stage 2. It is the queen stage of this year’s race with a total elevation gain of 2700m. The final climb comes with just four kilometres to go, with a fast descent to the finish.
Honningsvåg, the last town before the North Cape, will host the start of stage 3. The peloton will ride 201km to the northernmost city in the world of Hammerfest. The stage features yet another explosive finish, with a 1.7km climb averaging 5%. The sixth edition of the Arctic Race of Norway will end with a 145km stage from Kvalsund to Alta. The rollercoaster finale has the potential to turn the general classification on its head, leaving the race undecided until the very end.
Cyclingnews will have full coverage of the Arctic Race of Norway.