Ready For Adventure In Norway's Far North

news07.08.2013Pre-race

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The first international bike race organized above the Arctic Circle gets underway. Thor Hushovd's two stage wins at the Tour of Poland last week have also made the Race Ambassador the hot favorite. He leads the new adventure of 120 cyclists.

On the eve of stage 1 in Bodø, participants of the Arctic Race of Norway have realized that the wind will play a major factor in the running of the event. The curvy course alongside the fjords and through the Lofoten islands will expose them to the breathtaking landscapes of northern Norway but also to the changing climate conditions. “I'm delighted to welcome my team-mates and the cycling community in such a wonderful part of my country”, said Thor Hushovd upon arrival in the Nordland country.

The Norwegian star of the Tour de France in the past twelve years is the Race Ambassador for the Arctic Race but not only. He has clearly announced his ambition for the first edition of the event: to win a stage and the overall classification. “The four stages will possibly end up with bunch sprints”, predicted the 2010 world champion who became a winner again in the World Tour as he claimed two stages at the Tour of Poland last week. On both occasions, he imposed his powerful jump in a bunch gallop. He hadn't done so at such a high level since the 2011 Tour de France. The current Norwegian national champion has been affected by a virus last year but he's obviously back in business at the right time.
Therefore, his team BMC has a lot of pressure for the Arctic Race of Norway. The six-man squad has been composed in order to make Hushovd a winner. He'll be led out by fast Briton Adam Blythe and escorted by Martin Kohler, Dominik Nerz, Sebastian Lander as well as promising Swiss trainee Silvan Dillier. “This race is a big goal for Thor and BMC”, said Yvon Ledanois who is the sports director of the invigorated American-registered team.

However, they'll face a fierce competition despite the last minute withdrawal of challenger Alexander Kristoff who is down with a bacterial pneumonia in the right lung. Led by Lars-Petter Nordhaug and Sep Vanmarcke, Belkin Pro Cycling lines up sprinter Moreno Hofland, Paul Martens, Jetse Bol and Rick Flens. Among the favorites are Nikias Arndt (Argos-Shimano), the fast trio of Vacansoleil-DCM formed of Barry Markus, Kenny van Hummel and Boy van Poppel, Morgan Lamoisson who will get help from Sébastien Chavanel at Europcar, on form Crelan-Euphony rider Sébastien Delfosse, veterans Russel Downing (NetApp-Endura) and Nicolas Vogondy (Accent Jobs-Wanty), as well as many ambitious young talents like Cofidis Belgian recruit Louis Verhelst, Jasper De Buyst (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Sondre Holst Enger (Team Plussbank), Vegard Breen (Joker-Merida), Frederik Ludvigsson (People 4 you), Oddbjørn Andersen (Frøy-Bianchi), Sven Erik Bystrøm (Øster Hus)…

120 riders represent 20 teams: Accent Jobs-Wanty, Belkin Pro Cycling, BigMat-Auber 93, BMC Racing Team, Champion System Pro Cycling Team, Cofidis Solutions Crédit, Crelan-Euphony, Froy-Bianchi, Joker-Merida, Katusha, Oneco Cycling Team, Ringeriks Kraft Look, Team Argos-Shimano, Team Europcar, Team Netapp-Endura, Team Øster Hus Ridley, Team People4you-Unaas Cycling, Team Plussbank, Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team. The official teams presentation of Arctic Race of Norway will takes place at Bodo at 6:00 am.

The four stages of the Arctic Race of Norway 2013 :
- August 8 : Bodø-Bodø (192.5km)
- August 9 : Svolvær-Svolvær (156.5km)
- August 10 : Svolvær-Stokmarknes (201.5km)
- August 11 : Sortland-Harstad (155km)

The news in pictures

photo31/07/2013 

Photo DPPI

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Jersey wearers after the stage 4

Classifications after the stage 4

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