Arctic Race of Norway
THE STATEMENT: “For me the Arctic Race of Norway marks the official beginning of the last part of the season,” explained Stef Clement, who showed particularly strong form in July during the Tour de France. “Since the Tour ended, there has been a lot going on. I participated in several post-Tour criteriums, so have hopefully been able to hold onto some of the good form that I had during the Tour. Of course, those sorts of criteriums are not really comparable to normal races. So I will be looking to the Arctic Race as a way to start the buildup of racing fitness again. We’ll see how it goes, and I am definitely going to the race without feeling any enormous pressure.”
THE OBJECTIVE: As offered by Kjell Carlström, directeur sportif for IAM Cycling: “With Leigh Howard and Matteo Pelucchi, we have two very fast finishers for the sprints. Depending on the stage profile, we will decide from stage to stage which of the two we will work for on the given day. It will not be a simple task, though, since there will be several strong sprinters at the start line. With regards to the overall standings, we will just wait and see how things develop, especially on the third stage. Since we have Stef Clement and Martin Elmiger in the line-up, we certainly have two riders who are capable of accomplishing anything here. The form on the day will be the deciding factor.”
THE KEY POINT: The third stage. At the finish of the third stage, the racers will face a steep, 8.9 kilometer climb that has an average gradient of 6.3%. This section will certainly play a major role in the overall classification. “The wind could be decisive here,” Carlström suggested. “If there is no wind, the pure climbers will be at an advantage. But if, for instance, there is a head wind, that would make a solo attack much more difficult, and then those climbers who have a strong sprint would benefit from the conditions.”
THE RACE: The Arctic Race of Norway, which is organized by the A.S.O. (Amaury Sport Organisation), will be taking place for the fourth time this year. This four day stage race is the northern most cycling event in the world, and will kick off with 11 World Tour teams, 7 ProContinental teams, and 4 Norwegian Continental teams at the start line.
Arctic Race of Norway (jeudi 11 août – dimanche 14 août)
Jeudi 11 août: Fauske – Rognan 180,5 km (12h30 – 16h48)
Vendredi 12 août: Mo I Rana – Sandnessjøen 198.5 km (13h10 – 17h47)
Samedi 13 août: Nesna – Korgfjellet 160 km (13h00 – 16h49)
Dimanche 14 août: Arctic Circle – Bodø 193 km (13h25 – 17h48)
Directeur sportif: Kjell Carlström
Stef Clement (Ned)
Martin Elmiger (S)
Reto Hollenstein (S)
Leigh Howard (Aus)
Matteo Pelucchi (It)
Vicente Reynes (Esp).
Encadrement – Masseurs: Eddy Torrekens, Carolin Rodenbücher. Mécaniciens: Mickael Hamelin, Erju Zhang.