ASO international portfolio expands
The second edition of the Arctic Race of Norway next August will see the race visit one of Europe’s northernmost points with a stage finish near the steep cliffs of the North Cape.
The full route of the four-day race, which takes place from August 14-17, will not be unveiled until May, but on Tuesday, organisers ASO announced that the race will go further into the Arctic Circle in 2014, with the first stage set to finish at the North Cape. As was the case last year, the race will finish in Tromsø.
Home favourite Thor Hushovd (BMC) was the inaugural winner of the event last August, and he said that he was looking forward to returning and racing at the North Cape in August.
“I’m thrilled by this adventure in such a remarkable place as North Cape,” Hushovd said. “It’s so far north that, even for a Norwegian like me, it seems crazy to think that a cycling race can be held here. I could’ve never imagined it.”
Norway’s first Tour de France stage winner Dag-Otto Lauritzen was part of a delegation that travelled to the North Cape on Tuesday to plant an Arctic Race of Norway flag, along with representatives from ASO and from the regional governments of the three Northern Norway regions.
“We are proud to use cycling to display the stunning beauty of the landscapes in Norway’s far north. Professional cyclists see this one-of-a-kind race as something of an adventure,” said ASO president Jean-Étienne Amaury.
The Tour de France organiser has been steadily building its portfolio of international races in recent years, which already included the Tour of Qatar and Tour of Oman. Last year saw the inaugural editions of the Arctic Race of Norway and the season-ending Saitama Criterium by Le Tour de France, in Japan.
Earlier this month, The Guardian reported that ASO is planning to launch a new three-day stage race in Yorkshire in the coming years, with a possible mid-May date. The 2014 Tour begins in Yorkshire, and race director Christian Prudhomme spoke of his desire that the visit would establish a legacy.
“We want something to remain after the Grand Départ has happened," Prudhomme told The Guardian.