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“Stage 2 suits both of us. I’ve taken it easy after the Tour de France but I’m in good shape again. However, I might struggle in the hills but I’m ready for another fight with Marcel," Kristoff says 

Photo: Sirotti








14.08.2014 @ 00:12 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

A few weeks ago Alexander Kristoff and Marcel Kittel went head to head on the Champs Elysees in the Tour de France. Tomorrow they will clash again when they lead a strong line-up in the Arctic Race of Norway.


Only one year after it became the northernmost bike race in the world, the Arctic Race of Norway is ready to explore a new horizon and it’s no less than the North Cape. The mythical location at the top end of Europe will welcome the 117-rider strong peloton besides the symbolic monument built on the 307m high cliff overlooking the Arctic Ocean where the Midnight Sun shines from May 10 to July 30.
On the eve of stage 1 set to finish at the North Cape, Marcel Kittel and Alexander Kristoff, the two most successful sprinters of the Tour de France with four and two stage victories respectively have been reunited for a new challenge only eighteen days after finishing first and second on the Champs-Elysées in Paris.
“This is a new experience for me”, Kittel said. “The roads are really different with no danger and a unique surrounding with the sea, lakes and fjords, which makes Norway very special. The nature here is beautiful. It’s a nice way to resume racing after the Tour de France. I have to figure how my legs will respond after the break.”
“Stage 2 suits both of us”, echoed Kristoff. “I’ve taken it easy after the Tour de France but I’m in good shape again. However, I might struggle in the hills but I’m ready for another fight with Marcel.”
Norwegian cycling legend Thor Hushovd is the other superstar of the event. He’s the ambassador and the first overall winner of the Arctic Race of Norway, which is going to be his last race in his homeland. “I’m thrilled to be here”, said the soon-to-be retired 2010 world champion who seriously prepared for his final days as a racer at the Tour de Pologne last week.
The route is more challenging this year with two climbs in the final 25 kilometers of stage 1, the 7km long uphill finish to Kvænangsfjellet on stage 3 and the Tromsø summit on the finishing circuit of the fourth and last stage. It’s unclear to Norwegian former champions Atle Kvålsvoll and Dag-Otto Lauritzen whether or not the likes of Kristoff and Hushovd will be able to survive the climbs and contest the overall win.
Tour de France riders Jan Barta (NetApp-Endura), Simon Spilak (Katusha) and Amaël Moinard (BMC) are crossing paths with others gearing up for the Vuelta a España next week like Lars-Petter Nordhaug and Stef Clement (Belkin), Tobias Ludvigsson (Giant-Shimano), Guillaume Boivin and Oscar Gatto (Cannondale), Thomas Löfkvist and Sébastien Hinault (IAM Cycling). The latter will be the oldest participant of the ARN at the age of 40.
Eduardo Sepulveda (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) who missed the Tour de France due to injury returns to racing with high ambition in a race set to reveal to the world the super talents that Norwegian cycling has in store with Sondre Holst Enger (IAM Cycling) and Sven Erik Bystrøm (Katusha) making their debut as professionals as well as Oskar Svendsen and Kristoffer Skjerping (Joker), Sindre Lunke and Fridtjof Røinås (Sparenbanken Sør), Filip Eidsheim (, Hausken Jacobsen and August Jensen (Øster Hus-Ridley) looking at seducing Pro Teams on the occasion of the ARN.
“It’s our aim to have a race of the highest possible level”, said event manager Claude Rach. “More and more top teams and riders are embracing the event, which is an important sign for the sustainability that we all want. But as we often say, the Arctic Race of Norway is more than just a race. It’s the result of the enthusiasm shown by the people, it’s collaboration across boundaries of geography, politics and society with both public and private sectors involved, it offers a unique and spectacular context for a cycling race.”
“This is a total event promoting Norway as a whole, and it creates values in more than one sense”, added race director Knut Eirik Dybdal ahead of the very warm welcome given to the riders at the teams’ presentation in Hammerfest in the presence of Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme and Amaury Sport Organisation CEO Jean-Etienne Amaury who will follow stage 1 to the North Cape.
The Arctic Race of Norway will be broadcasted by 26 rights holders including 22 TV networks and 4 news agencies. Live telecast is programmed in Europe on TV2 Norway, L’Equipe 21 (France), DIGI (Czech Republic and Slovakia) and Eurosport (56 countries), in America on TDN, in Asia and Oceania on Eurosport Asia (16 countries). Highlights included, the race will be seen in 180 countries, which is a significant increase compare to 110 in 2013.
“This race is going to continue growing in the future”, promised Dybdal.



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