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t-72

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Re: Arctic Race of Norway
« on: August 16, 2018, 22:50 »
Ok, on to tomorrow's stage:

Stage 2 Tana Bru - Kjøllefjord 195 km

I look forward to this stage because I have wanted to ride this exact piece of road - the 888 - myself, since the first summer I came here in 2014. I just never find the time to bring a car with a bike up to Finnmark (it's about as far away from here as the Alps...). The only difference is the last little bend in the road, I would continue straight ahead to Mehamn instead of going to Kjøllefjord, but that's details.



As mentioned in the top post, it is very hard to get much further north on the continuous European landmass by bike. Yet, this landscape is full of contrasts and the race passes what is probably the northernmost active farming community in the world in the green Bekkarfjord and onto the barren Arctic tundra of the Nordkyn peninsula just a few kilometers later.



Back to racing, I think this stage has two faces: it has the most climbs and most of the longest climbs in the race, so some may see it as a climber's stage on first glance. An estimate of 4000 m climbing total is circulating in the media but I don't think that is anywhere near correct. This is neither the Alpes nor the Ardennes. Those climbs are fairly moderate and they are a long way from the finish. After the climb up from sea level at Hopseidet, there's 35 kilometers of flat, slightly undulating and then descending into Kjøllefjord, where the least challenging final 5 kilometers of all the stages in this race is waiting. In other words, even though it doesn't look like it, this stage could be one for the sprinters, but the sprinters that can handle a few medium climbs.
Another scenario is of course, the wind could break it all up in those final 35 kilometers and a strong team like #bmc BMC could split the field riding echelons.
I have checked the forecast and it seems like there will be >10 meters/second from SSW tomorrow. And then there is the road: For long sections on the tundra, the road is built so that it is exposed to the wind, on purpose - as that helps reduce the need for snow clearing in winter. I think there will be some sailing going on tomorrow, maybe even more than we saw today, and this time not from the start but near the finish.
Favorites: more or less same as yesterday, except Eiking...
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