The sixth edition of the Arctic Race of Norway will reach the final frontier when it visits East Finnmark, the only part of northern Norway the event had yet to explore. Many teams will vie for supremacy in Finnmark, with a horde of competitors ready to go all-out in a bid for glory.
BMC Racing Team’s Dylan Teuns is set to defend his title in the northernmost race in the world. The presence of eight Tour de France teams in the Arctic Race of Norway means the battle for the crown will be fiercer than ever before. The Astana, Dimension Data, Katusha-Alpecin and Direct Énergie teams will head to Norway to wrap up their summer campaign with a flourish, while Wanty-Gobert will put its chips on its man of the hour, Andrea Pasqualon. Cofidis is expected to field Nacer Bouhanni and let the sprinter’s legs do the talking.
The winner of the polka-dot jersey in the 2017 Tour de France, Breton Warren Barguil, will lead Fortuneo-Samsic. He will find the route to his liking. The second stage, which boasts an elevation gain of 2700 m, will be tougher than any other one in the history of this race.
A further eleven teams will try to rain on the favourites’ parade or, why not, even steal the overall spoils: Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Vital Concept club, WB Aquaproject Veranclassic, Delko Marseille Provence KTM, Rally Cycling, Holowesko, CCC Sprandi Polkowice, Israel Cycling Academy, Team Coop, Joker Icporal Pro Cycling, UNO-X Norwegian Development Team and Team Corendon–Circus.
Van der Poel fever
The spotlight of the sixth edition of the race will be on Corendon–Circus’s Mathieu van der Poel, increasingly hailed as the new Peter Sagan. The young Dutchman, World Cyclo-cross Champion in 2015, is expected to capitalise on his explosive power to bear and light the fireworks in the first edition of the race that has been tailor-cut for punchers. As well as the genes of his grandfather Raymond Poulidor, the rider from Kapellen has a devil-may-care attitude and nerves of steel that propelled him to a stage win in his road-race debut in the Boucles de la Mayenne.