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Professional Cycling => Road Races => Topic started by: t-72 on August 13, 2019, 22:30

Title: Arctic Race of Norway
Post by: t-72 on August 13, 2019, 22:30
The worlds most beautiful cycling race #corendon van der Poel show?

The Arctic Race of Norway 2019

With a spot on the calendar that invites some of the world championship contenders to race as part of preparations, The Arctic race for 2019 is back where everything started, in the beautiful Lofoten and Vesterålen archipelagos. For the last stage it will not be the Harstad finish from the original version, but the Narvik finish they used in the third edition. There will be four stages:

1. Thursday , August 15, 2019: Å - Leknes, 181km, hilly (yup, Å is a one letter placename, pronounced like o in portuguese...)
2. Friday, August 15, 2019: Henningsvær -Svolvær, 164 km, flat
3. Saturday, Augusti 17, 2019: Sortland - Storheia (Melbu), 176 km , mountain
4. Sunday, August 18, 2019: Lødingen-Narvik, "flat", 165.5 km (that finish loop isnt flat in my opinion)    

Sporting wise this will be all about how good Mathieu van der Poel can become. This year we have seen him race in a way that may point to an end for the Slovakian dominance over all rainbows. Last year, he picked two stages and his teammate secured yet one more for the team that is comple
tely dominated by CX and ex-CX personnell. The flying dutchman just stepped of his mountainbike, can he roll & rule on the roadbike again already?

Serious challenges to the Dutch Flying circus:
#astana will bring Lutsenko, but I don't think he's as eager as last year's oveerall winner Chernetskyii used to be :( Magnus Cort may be more motivated.
#unox Markus Hoelgaard 2nd place in the GC last year.
#rally Brandon McNulty if he can get away up the Storheia on stage 3.
#arkea Warren Barguil if he is as good as he was in the TdF and can stay on the road this time.
#katusha Ilnur Zakarin if he can get away on stage 3.
#total Rein Taaramäe battled it out with Zakharin on the last stage in Narvik - and won! Now he is back, and I don't think his team races for 2nd.
#academy August Jensen is the local (from Bodø) and the home crowd favorite. He has a stage win and a 2nd GC from 2017, and now it seems he may be on his way back to the top 10 subscription folder again.
#corendon Mathieu van der Poel a dutch youngster that spends his time practicing other sports wants to have a crack at road cycling. 2 stage wins last year.
#wanty Odd Christian Eiking, a Norwegian cyclist that's never good when you think he will be good but sometimes on steep finishes he's suddenly up there
#euskadi Benãt Inxausti Elorriage think I heard about this guy somewhere before.


There are a few teams not mentioned here that may field a rider that can get into GC, but it is difficult to guess who that rider will be. I also skipped on some sprint squads like #coop that may not feature in the GC but could win a stage with Tor Håkon Trondsen. Also with so few stages, lucky breakaway riders could pose a serious threat to the GC. watch out for #riwal Krister Hagen who could fly under the radar. #jumbo Amund Grøndal Jansen will be far more visible with his  #champno jersey, but he is the kind of guy who can't win on the stage 3 MTF and can't win a sprint because it will be too difficult, with
#didata Cavendish
#cofidis Lapporte

Stage 1
A kayaking stage? 
Title: Re: Arctic Race of Norway
Post by: Leadbelly on August 14, 2019, 09:24

Any chance of the wind blowing the peloton to pieces again?
Title: Re: Arctic Race of Norway
Post by: t-72 on August 14, 2019, 21:44

Any chance of the wind blowing the peloton to pieces again?

Last year's stage from Tana to Nordkyn along the Nordkyn Peninsula in Finnmark passed through long sections of landscape with nowhere to hide from the wind. The whole race was in many ways set up to be decided by the wind, but the few short climbs were actually quite decisive, allowing #astana to drop #corendon van der Poel on the way up to the exposed plateau terrain. It was an absolute thriller of a stage, perhaps the best GC-stage in the Arctic Race history.

However, our Arctic is Big Country, the distances are bound to deceive you.
The Nordkyn Peninsula is as far from the Lofoten start this year as (hold on) 666 kilometers. That is the equivalent of a length of a line drawn from Kortrijk in Belgium via Valenciennes in France (the Paris-Roubaix terrain) via Reims and Chalon - sur - Champagne (sweet smell of bubbly drinks and Tour de France sprint stage finishes) across the Vosges mountains to Colmar, and from Colmar straight south into the Swiss Alps to the Grimselpass - Furkapass area where this year's Tour de Suisse was finally decided.

There's room for plenty of varied landscape between Kortrijk and the Grimselpass and there's pleny of variation between Nordkyn and Lofoten as well. The racing in Lofoten will be quite different from the Arctic Plains (Vidda) of Finnmark. There are no 3000 meter peaks in the Arctic but the terrain in Lofoten is like the peaks of the Alps drowning in water.

The islands (and especially Lofoten) are Alpine terrain with really steep peaks (but there are no roads up them :( ), and the wind will bend around mountains and along valleys with more the headwind or tailwind (because roads also tend to follow valleys) rather than crosswinds. There will be sections of exposed coastline, but the road twists and turns a lot and there will not be the miles and miles of crosswinds with no change in wind direction and no change of road direction either, nothing like the Quatar-esque scenes that we saw last year.

Adding to that - the forecast for tomorrow: 12 degrees (Celsius) , some very light rain and light winds from the west. Coastal weather without the drama. I think it looks like a sprint finish!

Finish line is scheduled for 17:45 - 18:15. For watching slow TV, the first hour or so the race crosses the Moskenesøy, perhaps the most spectacular island in Lofoten and where the photo above was taken from. I just don't expect it to be very exciting racing unless you cheer for the breakaway!  :)   
Title: Re: Arctic Race of Norway
Post by: Leadbelly on August 14, 2019, 22:03

"In general, I think the Arctic Race of Norway is a bit too heavy for me," says Van der Poel. “The climbing was already quite difficult last year and from what I have seen, it is even more difficult this season. So it is not really a goal to win the general classification, but I will definitely try to win one or two stages when it comes to sprinting and then I help my teammates, who are better prepared to climb."
Title: Re: Arctic Race of Norway
Post by: t-72 on August 14, 2019, 22:04
I need to throw in some predictions, just for fun:

*** #corendon Mathieu van der Poel
** #didata Mark Cavendish, #vital Bryan Coquard , #cofidis Christophe Laporte
* #coop Trond Håkon Trondsen, #jumbo Danny van Poppel, #academy Sondre Holst Enger.

Cavendish have dropped out of #didata lineup (or racing in general?) I added Laporte as a replacement.

Outsiders not on the list, that can ruin my plan: #katusha Nathan Haas, #jumbo Amund Grøndahl Jansen, #unox Markus Hoelgaard, #academy August Jensen, #coop Erlend Blikra, #riwal Krister Hagen, #wanty Fredrik Backaert. Please on't let any of them into the breakaway!
Title: Re: Arctic Race of Norway
Post by: LukasCPH on August 15, 2019, 11:43
The islands (and especially Lofoten) are Alpine terrain with really steep peaks (but there are no roads up them :( )
The Storheia mountain-top finish is a start, isn't it? :)
Title: Re: Arctic Race of Norway
Post by: Drummer Boy on August 16, 2019, 01:17
Whoah. MVdP. No teammates; no matter. :win

I'm quite fond of the leader's Midnight Sun Jersey.  :cool

Pay attention now, Lukas.  :snooty

Tough ending for Steve Cummings, but he hardly seems dissapointed after being awarded the Salmon.  :cool  :D



Beautiful.  :)


Title: Re: Arctic Race of Norway
Post by: Drummer Boy on August 16, 2019, 17:30

Slacker.  :P
Title: Re: Arctic Race of Norway
Post by: Drummer Boy on August 17, 2019, 17:21
Quite the impressive finish to today's dramatic stage.  :cool
Title: Re: Arctic Race of Norway
Post by: Leadbelly on August 17, 2019, 19:02
Some great choreographed shots in the last km. :cool
Title: Re: Arctic Race of Norway
Post by: Drummer Boy on August 17, 2019, 19:07
It's hard to beat the Midnight Sun and the Salmon when it comes to leader's jerseys.  :)
Title: Re: Arctic Race of Norway
Post by: t-72 on August 18, 2019, 12:44
It seems like ages ago, but it is only 5 years: in 2014, as a first year conti-team rider with #joker he crashed in the last roundabout at Lillehammer in the Tour of Norway and thus quite involuntarily "gifted" the "king" stage of the Tour of Norway to Bauke Mollema. In the field of 4 attackers he clearly was the more explosive rider and had the best finish, so if he could just have stayed upright....
It was the closest thing to a Norwegian climber winning on home soil in a decade or so, and that was 5 years ago. (So much for the *dk people nicknaming Norwegians as "mountain monkeys"). 
Yesterday, he finally took back what that roundabout took from him, stage win on the most prestigeous climbing stage/race in Norway this year. He is clearly a man for the steep stuff (and not the long climbs), and he still has that ability to go d-e-e-p into red that is a great advantage on the steep uphill finishes. His greatest weakness is positioning in the peloton at critical moments. Yesterday's quite long effort was long enough for him to find his way forward step by step, but when the peloton split on the first stage he was in the wrong group and thus lost his opportunity to go for the midnight sun. Similarly on some of the more prestigeous international races he often starts his final climb way back and thus he can't really fight for podium. The top 3 are usually long gone up the hill by the time he gets past stuggling cyclists that finish top 10-20.

If #wanty can help him to a better starting position for the final climb, he could be a candidate for top 10 in the Fleche Vallone. (It is unlikely they will ever ride the Vuelta but it would be interesting to follow him there now that he has graduated from his role as anonymous team member in #fdj).

The finishing circuit on today's final stage should suit Eiking well, but he might be feeling yesterday's finish a bit too much I am afraid. It doens't really suit #arkea #champfr Warren Barguil, who is a less explosive rider. He is likely to loose the 3 seconds to #astana Lutsenko, who is more the allrounder.
A few candidates further down the list could close the gap (#total Calmejane, #academy Neilandts, but it #astana is unlikely to let them pass and thus, they are favorites for defending the title and bringing the midnight sun home with Lutsenko..
Title: Re: Arctic Race of Norway
Post by: t-72 on August 18, 2019, 21:03
As expected, the final stage became a bit of a thriller, but I didn't expect the final decision for the GC to happen on the last 200 meters. #astana #champkz Aleksey Lutsenko opened up a gap to the leader #arkea #champfr Warren Barguil and it was large enough for a split to be declared by the commisars, hence the boys in blue retained their tight grip on the Arctic Circle. It was a bitter defeat for Barguil, but the stage profile clearly suited the more explosive Kazakh a bit better.

The race for stage win was also quite a thriller with #unox Markus Hoelgaard attacking over the top at Skistua on the last lap, then almost being hauled back in, but the gap opened again and then closed again with #total Calmejane doing the chasing and then opened again on the final climb to the finish line as the chasing group had a little tactical debate over who should lead out into the climb. #jumbo #champno Amund Grøndal Jansen had the larger reserves at the end, and halfway up the climb he attacked from the group, quickly distancing them and getting closer to catching #unox Hoelgaard up front. Except Hoelgaard had a little trick of his own up his sleeve and made a final accelration, securing the stage win for this ambitous conti team. Next year, they will level up to pro-conti, and the Hoelgaard brothers (2/3) will be among their finest weapons, along with Andreas Leknessund as an up and coming GC rider.

and the GC:

#white jersey goes to #academy Krists Neilandts,
#green to #corendon Mathieu van der Poel (2 stage wins 2 years in a row now).   Sorry, #astana #champkz Lutsenko got that one too!
half a ton of salmon (the climber's jersey) goes to #wanty Odd Christian Eiking. In post race interviews he said something like "all the guys on the team was feeling really hungry and we were up for some sushi right now"  :lol 
(The street value of 500 kg of salmon sold in retail packaging:  around 9000 euros.  It is a good deal for a few hilltops).
Title: Re: Arctic Race of Norway
Post by: Leadbelly on August 18, 2019, 21:54
Title: Re: Arctic Race of Norway
Post by: Drummer Boy on August 20, 2019, 14:18
In case you missed any of it (or all of it, for that matter), here's a very nice recap of many the events surrounding what is quickly becoming one of my favorites races of the year. I just can't get enough of the stunning imagery.