An air of Arctic Race of Norway on the Tour de France
July 8 th 2019 - 19:14
The Arctic Race of Norway, a race inspired by the Tour de France, today has pride of place on the roads of the Grande Boucle. A Norwegian delegation was present on the third stage leading the peloton from Binche to Epernay. The most northerly race in the world will start in one month and will see the riders take in the islands of Lofoten and Vesterålen from 15th to 18th August with the high point of the race at the Storheia Summit (3.5 km at a gradient of 11.8%).
The crowds were able to enjoy the show put on for this Norwegian day on the roads of the Tour de France, especially the sprint challenge between two former champions, namely Thor Hushovd (a 10-time stage winner on the Tour) and Oddbjørn Hjelmeset (a cross-country skier and bronze medallist at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games in 2002). The two Norwegians did battle in a race on skis with rollers, which was as spectacular as it promised to be, before Thor Hushovd returned to a more familiar environment by climbing back onto his bike for a second sprint. The race was a perfect illustration of that when an athlete has good legs, they do not simply disappear from one day to the next. The bicycle race also featured a distinguished guest, Dag Otto Lauritzen, who became the first Norwegian Tour de France stage winner in 1987 and now works as a consultant for TV2 Norway.
Thor Hushovd, a double green jersey winner on the Tour de France: “I’m happy to be back here, behind the scenes of a race like the Tour de France which I hold very dear to my heart. It’s also an opportunity for me to promote the Arctic Race of Norway, cycling’s most northerly race, which will begin in a little more than one month’s time”.
Oddbjørn Hjelmeseth, bronze medallist in the relay at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010: “It was thrilling to discover an event like the Tour de France and I couldn’t have hoped for a better tour guide than Thor! I look forward to finding this same level of enthusiasm on the roads of the Arctic Race of Norway”.