The tenth anniversary in North Cape
November 30 th 2022 - 11:40 [GMT + 1]
For the tenth anniversary of the Arctic Race of Norway, which will take place from 17 to 20 August, the world's most northerly cycling race is returning to the North Cape. The favourites will compete over four stages, all of which will be north of the Arctic Circle.
From Kautokeino, a cultural centre of the Sami people and a town hosting the riders for the first time, the race will cross Troms og Finnmark over four days with a sumptuous fourth and final stage from Kvalsund, which hosted the start of the last day in 2018, to North Cape. With this iconic finish, the Arctic Race is reviving its history and celebrating ten years of existence.
The county of Troms og Finnmark will take centre stage in the 2023 edition of the Arctic Race of Norway, with all four stages traversing the region after starting in the Sami town of Kautokeino on 17 August and finishing in North Cape on 20 August. According to Thor Hushovd, ambassador of the race : “It could be a very open competition for the overall win this year. A sprinter with good climbing legs can win, but so can a typical explosive climber. This makes it difficult to predict a winner. The race will be open, and several riders will probably see an opportunity to pull this off. This increases the entertainment value because it often leads to an offensive ride with many attacks.”
Following a 2022 edition held entirely below the Arctic Circle, the Arctic Race of Norway returns to its roots by heading north. The route of the opening stage from Kautokeino to Alta could be one for the sprinters. Those in the know will remember that in 2018, a certain Mathieu Van der Poel easily won the stage. The plans of the fastest men could, nevertheless, be thwarted by daring riders in the new 15 km finishing circuit.
The pure sprinters will also appreciate stage two and its finish in Hammerfest, where, unlike in the 2014 and 2018 editions, they will have to climb a 1.7 km climb with a 4% gradient before the finish line. This climb will probably give ideas to the punchers who were left hungry after stage one. As the main partner of the Arctic Race of Norway, Equinor is linked closely to Hammerfest, where the Norwegian company has been developing Europe's largest liquefied natural gas production site since 2007. The Nordic city will also host the start of stage three, which will delight its 10,000 residents.
The climbers will be in the spotlight on stage three, heading towards Havøysund for a new finish. The last hundred kilometres of this stage will follow a road parallel to the one of the North Cape in a breathtaking scenery typical of the Norwegian North. The riders will ride along several fjords before ascending two climbs listed in the mountain classification, the Kirkedalen summit (4.1 km at 5.2%) and the Selvika summit (2.6 km at 5.4%). These two passes will allow the mountain specialists to demonstrate their skills. An initial selection will come before the climb heading to the finish line and its 10% average gradient over 2.2 km. "Just outside the village, we found this climb that leads to the plateau hosting the finish. The typical Arctic landscape and the 360° panorama are breathtaking," describes Yannick Talabardon, the event's technical director. "The passages of more than 10% will allow the fittest riders to show their strength after an undulating second half of the stage."
As in 2014, Europe's most northerly point and majestic setting will be part of this edition. That year, Norwegian rider Lars Petter Nordhaug won by attacking in the final three kilometres of the stage after a battle on the last climb with six kilometres to go. For its tenth anniversary, the Arctic Race returns to the symbolic site of the North Cape with the finish of the last stage. The two classified climbs in the last 25 kilometres and a windy final stretch, which are conducive to bordures promise a non-stop battle to the finish line for the stage win and the general classification.
Thor Hushovd predict an epic ending to this anniversary edition of the Arctic Race of Norway: “The last stage runs along some of the most beautiful Norway has to offer in terms of brutal and magnificent nature. However, the last 25 kilometers towards Nordkapp will be tough. Here, the best climbers will surely attack and give all that is left of their strength after four hard stages, and the overall race will certainly not be decided before the finish on the Nordkapp plateau.”
The stages of the 2023 Arctic Race of Norway:
- Thursday 17 August, Stage 1: Kautokeino - Alta (171km)
- Friday 18 August, Stage 2: Alta – Hammerfest (153km)
- Saturday 19 August, Stage 3: Hammerfest – Havøysund (167km)
- Sunday 20 August, Stage 4: Kvalsund – Cap Nord (171km)