King of the Arctic Hill - Back to the Future
July 25 th 2019 - 16:49
King of the Arctic
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. The northernmost race in the world is going back to its roots with its return to the archipelago where huge crowds turned out to welcome the inaugural edition of the race in 2013. It is a special sort of enthusiasm that is an integral part of the Arctic Race of Norway and never fades. This time round, an exceptional summit finish on Storheia, which is known as the «Norwegian Mont Ventoux» and offers a 360-degree panoramic view, will put the riders through the wringer on the toughest slopes in Vesterålen, where the race is likely to be decided. The big favourites, with last year’s double stage winner and 2019 Amstel Gold Race champion Mathieu van der Poel at the helm, will attempt to knock their rivals out of contention on this climb. The Norwegian adventure will come to an end in Narvik, which has already hosted the peloton at the bottom of its ski slopes in previous years. Narvik is also in the running to host the 2027 Alpine World Ski Championships, building on the organisational know-how and close cooperation with local authorities and the private sector that the town developed when it hosted Arctic Race of Norway stage finishes in 2015 and 2017.
Director of Cycling - A.S.O
Back to the Future
With last year’s edition and fantastic Finnmark fresh in memory, the Arctic Race of Norway (ARN) returns to Lofoten, Vesterålen and Narvik.
We go back to some of the most beautiful and spectacular landscapes that Norway has to offer. During the first edition of the race in 2013, our ARN ambassador Thor Hushovd described the second stage in Lofoten as “the most beautiful stage I have ever done in my career”. This year riders will have an even greater taste of this quite unique archipelago, as the route stretches from Å to Leknes, from Henningsvær to Svolvær and from Sortland to our very own North-Norwegian “Mont Ventoux”, that is the majestic mountain of Storheia on the island of Hadseløya.
The fourth and final stage starts in Lødingen, which already has a connection with Å through the local midnight sun race of Lofoten Insomnia. We then head back to Narvik, this time crossing the new Hålogaland Bridge which lifts the riders across the fjord to the town that hosts the great final. It is the third time that Narvik is host of an ARN finish and we are happy to also brand Narvik as the alpine city which, on behalf of the whole region, is the selected Norwegian candidate to apply for the World Championship of Alpine Skiing in 2027.
In terms of sports, the Race above the Arctic Circle has from the very start offered an arena for the future stars of cycling. We can draw a line from Team Ineos’ sprinter Kristoffer Halvorsen, who won the first Arctic Heroes of Tomorrow Race in 2013, to the super talent Mathieu Van der Poel, winner of two stages in last year’s ARN (in Kirkenes and Alta). Among the hungry and talented riders who have taken the trip up north and that have later enforced their international breakthrough, we may also mention names such as Nikias Arndt, Steven Kruijswijk, Rein Taaramäe, Gianni Moscon or Dylan Teuns, all five riders participating in this year’s Tour de France.
The ARN 2019 keeps its wide international TV coverage. Moreover, this year’s edition holds some innovations that give promise to the future. Our official car supplier Hyundai delivers this year 46 EV cars to the ARN car park, a delivery that gives us some challenges in terms of charging infrastructure. However, with the help of five local power companies - Lofotkraft, Vesterålen Kraft, Trollfjord Kraft, Hålogaland Kraft and Nordkraft – a mobile solution has been found. Our goal for the future car park of the ARN stays ambitious: ARN will be the first cycling race in the world to go all-electric.
Fans in the start and finish zones, as well as along the route, may look forward to an interesting mix of goodies, encountering TV2 reporter Dag Otto Lauritzen or our partners’ representatives in the ARN Caravan. Well deserved, since we have the best fans in the world. Together with our French organising partners and our wonderful corps of local volunteers, we develop world class skills in organizing international sports events. And the result of this unique collaboration is, again, the creation of much more than just a race.
With all these elements in place, the ARN returns. We head back to magnificent areas which all carry the promise of an exciting future, for the development of Northern Norway and as valuable promotion of Norway.
Together, we all look forward to August. Welcome!
Managing Director of Arctic Race of Norway