Eight Tour de France teams selected

June 21 st 2019 - 14:47

The seventh edition of the Arctic Race of Norway gives pride of place to the Lofoten and Vesterålen islands and their splendid landscapes. For four days, these far-northern lands will become a real cycling archipelago and an exceptional stage for 20 outfits from all over the world.

Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon–Circus) will attempt once more to win stages on the northernmost race in the world, hopping from one island to the next. It will be a real challenge, with no fewer than eight Tour de France teams scheduled to start the Arctic Race of Norway on 15 August: Astana Pro Team, Team Dimension Data, Team Katusha–Alpecin, Team Jumbo–Visma, Cofidis, Team Arkéa Samsic, Total Direct Énergie and Wanty – Gobert Cycling Team.

Two squads, Riwal–Readynez and Euskadi Basque Country, will be facing their baptism in fire and fighting to make a strong impression in their first appearance in the race. Three Norwegian teams will be looking to excel on home turf: Joker Fuel of Norway, Team Coop and Uno-X Norwegian Development Team. A further six teams will do their best to make life difficult for the favourites or even cause a serious upset: Israel Cycling Academy, Vital Concept – B&B Hotels, Rally UHC Cycling, Sport Vlaanderen–Baloise, Delko Marseille Provence and Wallonia Brussels.

The race promises a spectacular confrontation, culminating in the ascent to Storheia Summit (3.5 km at 11.8 %), widely known as "the Norwegian Mont Ventoux" —a not-subtle hint of the challenge that awaits the peloton.

Van der Poel heads back to Norway

Mathieu van der Poel's love stories usually have happy endings. Corendon–Circus's Dutch rider will attempt to extend his romance with the Arctic Race of Norway —and the feeling is mutual. VDP's two stage wins in 2018 marked the rise of a champion who has since shone on every terrain. After being crowned cyclo-cross world champion in February, emerging victorious from a thrilling finale in the Amstel Gold Race two months later, and recently claiming a leg of the MTB World Cup, the 24-year-old is heading back to the northernmost race in the world like a Viking ready to go berserk on his opponents. Who will dare stand in his way?

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