Rally Cycling arrived in Vadso, Norway today to race the sixth annual Arctic Race of Norway, one of Scandinavia’s premiere stage races. The race, running from August 16 – 19, covers 718 km on the northern tip of Norway and is known for its breathtaking views and stiff competition. The race’s 2.HC rank attracts much of the WorldTour’s top talent to tackle the small, undulating roads of the Norwegian countryside. With finishing hills featured on all but one of the stages, classics specialists are expected to headline.
The hilly profiles in Norway require a roster full of well-rounded riders that can stay near the front and make selections over steep climbs. Rally Cycling will start Ryan Anderson, Robin Carpenter, Matteo Dal-Cin, Adam de Vos, Colin Joyce, and Eric Young.
This year’s course profiles are tantalizing for 24-year-old all-rounder Colin Joyce. The Idaho native thrives on difficult courses and selective field sprints.
“Norway will be really hard,” said Joyce. “The challenging courses suit the team pretty well. It’s looking like a strong start list of teams, but we have proven that we can race over here. Everyone is riding super well on the team, so it should be a good race for all of us!”
After an impressive performance at the Tour de Yorkshire in May where he finished in the top ten on three consecutive stages, Joyce’s season was derailed due to a heavy crash in June’s Tour de Beauce. While attacking off the front during stage five, he went down on a descent in Saint Georges.
“I’ve been feeling alright,” said Joyce. “Denmark was my first race back after the crash so it was a bit of a break. I wasn’t sure how the legs would do getting back into racing, but I’m happy to be here and in the peloton again.”
The 184 km first stage starts along the Barents Sea in Vadso. The four lower category climbs during the stage will keep the peloton on their toes as they race towards the 300 meter uphill finishing drag in Kirkenes. The queen stage to Kjøllefjord on stage two covers 195 km and three category-one climbs. It may have a downhill finish, but expect this stage to be contested by a select group of general classification contenders.
Hilly finishing circuits around Hammerfest await the riders on the stage three 194 km course from Honningsvåg. The final km is uphill and will favor a versatile sprinter. Stage four may be the shortest at 145 km, but the finishing circuits around Alta feature the challenging category two ascent of Thomasbakken. The climb could decide not only the stage winner but this year’s overall champion.
With podium finishes at the Tour of Denmark and the Netherland’s KOGA Slag om Norg, Rally Cycling is ready to take on the likes of BMC Racing, Team Dimension Data, and Astana Pro Team.
Arctic Race of Norway Roster
Adam de Vos
Directors: Eric Wohlberg