Eyebrows were raised when the ASO-backed Arctic Race of Norway was unveiled in 2013 — a bike race in the Arctic Circle, further north than Iceland? But the third edition of the most northerly stage race on the pro cycling calendar, which concluded last weekend, underlined that it is far more than a fleeting gimmick.
Reporter Felix Lowe joined the four-day stage race in northern Norway with his camera, curious to learn more.
Four different stage winners in as many days — plus an overall stage victory for the in-form, Astana-quitting Estonian, Rein Taaramäe — made for some thrilling racing some 300 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.
And with organisers ASO and headline sponsor Statoil announcing on the eve of the race the extension of their contracts with the category 2.HC event until 2018, it was not only the peloton on whom the warm Arctic sun eventually shone.
There was a buzz as the riders gathered for the start of the race in Harstad, encapsulated by the rainbow that arched across the glistening waters of the harbour. Here’s how the 2015 Arctic Race of Norway unfolded …