Arctic Race of Norway goes through Lofoten
The road race through the beautiful landscape of North Norway generates fun and a party atmosphere whichever route it takes. This year, the race starts from Å in Leknes and heads east towards Henningsvær and Svolvær and on to Narvik via Sortland and Lødingen. The finishing line in Narvik is at the ski resort that hopes to host the 2027 Alpine Skiing World Cup.
“When ARN was there in 2013, it was a fantastic experience. This time, we are including far more of Lofoten,” says Knut-Erik Dybdal, the General Manager of ARN tells Scandinavian Traveler.
It was Dybdal who first had the idea of created a cycle race in North Norway back in 2008. After campaigning for several years, he managed to persuade the Amaury Sport Organisation, that manages the Tour de France, La Vuelta a España and several other sports events, to come onboard. That the race ends in Narvik is no coincidence. The city is bidding to host the Alpine Skiing World Cup in 2027.
“Around 19,000 people live in Narvik, but at least as many visitors are expected during the event. To find room for everyone, we're putting people up in the mountains,” says Dybdal with a laugh.
Party time in North Norway during the cycle race
The roads will be closed to traffic in Lofoten when the race passes through. According to the local newspaper Lofotposten, Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Moskene Laila Jusnes Kristiansen, is urging people to line the route. As in previous years, official representatives of Norway will attend, including Prime Minister Erna Solberg. His Majesty the King's Guards will also accompany parts of the race. In 2015, they played for the riders at the top of Mount Keipen north west of Harstad. TV footage of the beautiful nature and wonderful atmosphere was broadcast to an incredible 190 countries.
“This generates Nkr270 million in value. Many organizations are involved in arranging tours along this stretch,” says Dybdal.
The support teams will use electric cars during the race. As the infrastructure for electric cars is less well advanced in North Norway compared to the rest of the country, ARN has contributed to finding a solution.
“We took this as a challenge and contacted the power companies in the region to hear if they could help resolve it. The response was incredible, and we now have a solution in place that means 46 of the support cars in this year’s race can run on green North Norway power,” says Dybdal.
Power companies Nordkraft, Lofotkraft, Hålogaland Kraft, Vesterålskraft and Trollfjord have joined forces to finance mobile charging stations that will be used during ARN. Arnt Winther, CEO of Lofotkraft, is delighted with the alliance.
“We have been pretty slow to electrify vehicle fleets in North Norway, primarily due to a shortage of charging points. This prod from the Arctic Race of Norway has enabled us to produce mobile solutions for this year’s race, and we will go on to develop permanent solutions,” he says in a press release.
Fancy cycling the ARN route?
Cyclist and race ambassador Thor Hushovd is pleased with progress.
“The seventh event will be spectacular and exciting right up to the finish in Narvik. The first two stages will be an outdoor show. The most beautiful stretch I have ever cycled, was the second stage at Svolvær in 2013, which I won. The finish at Storheia Summit, the Vesterålen Mont Ventoux, will probably be won by the strongest cyclist,” he says in a press release.
If you fancy following in the pedals of the professionals, you can cycle parts of the route during the amateur race. You have a choice of three formats: The 93km ARN Challenge, which is timed, or the 47km training race that will not be timed. Both routes go through Vesterålen. The third route, the ARN Challenge Festive Ride, is a nine km ride that aims to promote Narvik as a candidate city.
SAS is a partner and official supplier to the Arctic Race and the ARN organization.
Published: July 15, 2019