Braving the challenge of the far north
November 8 th 2023 - 13:40 [GMT + 1]
The route of the eleventh Arctic Race of Norway was unveiled in the presence of Jonas Gahr Støre, the Prime Minister of Norway.
From 8 to 11 August 2024, the riders will be put to the test above the Arctic Circle, with four arduous stages tailored for well-rounded cyclists who can hold their own both on climbs and on gravel sections, which will make their first appearance in the race.
Bodø, one of the 2024 European Capitals of Culture, will bookend this edition, held on a compact route around the administrative centre of Nordland County.
Bodø, the nerve centre of Nordland, will double as the hub of the 2024 Arctic Race of Norway. This edition, held entirely above the Arctic Circle, will serve up a gruelling challenge for the toughest of the tough. A 157 km trek from Bodø to Rognan will get the show on the road. After skirting Lake Soløyvatnet twice, the peloton will venture onto hillier roads on its way to the finish in Rognan. Those in the know will remember that Alexander Kristoff took a bunch sprint there in 2016.
Playtime is over in stage 2, which is likely to play into the hands of the classics specialists. Shortly after rolling out of Beiarn, which is hosting a stage start for the very first time, the riders will tackle the Beiarnfjellet 15 km into the race. At a length of 9 km and an average gradient of 6%, this will be both the highest and longest ascent in the history of the race. The stage will end with two loops around Fauske and has a sting in the tail in the shape of a 6 km gravel track. This section, typical of northern Norway, comes 14 km before the finish and could provide a springboard for a group of tough men to vie for victory at the end of the 175 km long stage 2.
Stage 3 from Tverlandet and the Sulitjelma (Jakobsbakken) climb will be one for the mountain maniacs. It will take the peloton on familiar roads. After the start, a few kilometres down the road from Bodø, the riders will visit Rognan and zip past Fauske, which they will have discovered on the previous days. This hilly, energy-sapping stage will come to a head on the summit finish, a 6.5 km climb at an average gradient of 6.2%. The slopes are anything but consistent, with sections north of 10% that are likely to separate the wheat from the chaff.
While stage 4 clings to the Norwegian Sea in its entirety, it is by no means a leisure ride. The landscapes will whet spectators' appetite before the finale in Bodø lights up the fireworks. The final circuit of this stage is a carbon copy of the one used in 2016, when John Degenkolb took the spoils in Bodø. This time round, the finish line will be at the top of the Rønvikfjellet, a 1.1 kilometre climb at an average gradient of 9.2% where the podium of the 2024 Arctic Race of Norway will be decided.