Plans are underway for an Arctic Tour of Norway, to be held annually in August and housing the riders on a cruise ship. Organizers have already contacted the Amaury Sport Organisation, who run the Tour de France, which has shown interest in co-operating on the project.
Knut-Erik Dybal and Ole Skardal are the brains behind the project.They have already put on cycling races in northern Norway, and are now ready to take the next step, according to ProCycling.no.
The pair first presented the idea of a five-day stage race to Norwegian TV 2 a year ago.“The race has everything needed to succeed in competition with other concepts: It has nature, potential, and is different from stage races that already exist today,” TV 2 sports chief Bjorn Taalesen said.
Taalesen set up the meeting with the ASO in April, and the Norwegian presentation leaving the ASO “ecstatic”, according to Procycling.no. The end of July, ASO representatives flew to northern Norway.
“We were visited by them here in Harstad,” organisers said. “We showed off the Lofoten Islands, and they melted completely. They told us that of all the new concepts for bicycle they had looked at in recent years, this was the one with the greatest potential.”
The race would be planned to take advantage of northern Norway's qualities, in addition to its distinctive natural beauties. For one thing, it is planned to use cruise ships to house the athletes. Instead of the riders moving from hotel to hotel, as in other races, “the hotel would move with the riders.” They would also be encouraged to bring their families.
In addition, one ore more evening stages would be planned, to take full advantage of the long summer nights, which would benefit worldwide television viewers.
“Our idea of using the Arctic light and the ability to arrange stages in the bright evening hours, is unprecedented. The event is thus the only cycling event outside Europe, which can be broadcast live 'prime time' in the U.S. and evening broadcasts in Europe,” organisers said.
Organisers are now looking for government guarantees so that the the first race could take place in 2013, while a test event could be held in 2012.