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“I also want to fight for the victory if I get the chance. I’m looking forward to racing in northern Norway again this year.”

Photo: Sirotti

ANDREAS VANGSTAD

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SONDRE HOLST ENGER

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SVEN ERIK BYSTRØM

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11.08.2015 @ 21:59 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Following Thor Hushovd’s retirement, Alexander Kristoff and Edvald Boasson Hagen lead the way but Norwegian cycling has a lot of new talents in store, all ready for the Arctic Race!

 

A trademark of the Arctic Race of Norway is the “Arctic Morgendagens Helter Rittet” – the heroes of tomorrow’s race, prior to the arrival of the conclusive stage. Since the inception of the event in 2013, the best juniors from every region of Norway head north to compete as well. The top three finishers from two years ago are already professional cyclists at the age of 20. Kristoffer Halvorsen (a trainee for now) and Anders Skaarseth ride for Team Joker, the talent factory that developed Edvald Boasson Hagen, Alexander Kristoff, Lars-Petter Nordhaug, Vegard Breen and Kristoffer Skjerping, whereas Petter Theodorsen already took part in the ARN with Ringeriks-Kraft in 2014.

                                                       

New talents have been inspired by Hushovd, the 2010 world champion and ambassador of the Arctic Race of Norway since the very beginning of the project. They’re in top shape this summer. Lining up in Harstad on August 13, Sven-Erik Bystrøm (Katusha), Sondre Holst Enger (IAM Cycling), Odd Christian Eiking (Joker), Fredrik Galta (Coop-Øster Hus) and Andreas Vangstad (Sparebanken Sør) will be the young guns to watch.

 

“The Arctic Race is a beautiful event and a very important one for me as a Norwegian rider”, said Bystrøm who put a Katusha jersey on for the first time in Hammerfest one year ago and carried on with winning the u23 world championship road race. His debuts with the Russian team have been so convincing that his contract has already been extended to 2017. They won the team time trial at the Tour of Austria last month. Bystrøm was also instrumental in Kristoff’s triumph in the Tour of Flanders. He’s expected to prepare the sprints for him at the ARN again but not only. “I also want to fight for the victory if I get the chance”, he said. “I’m looking forward to racing in northern Norway again this year.”

 

Enger, 21, also won his first pro race at the Tour of Austria (stage 2). “We rely on him for the sprints, we’ll be two or three lead out men”, warns his Swiss team-mate Pirmin Lang. Eiking, 20, is the U23 Norwegian champion, also a silver medalist in the Elite title won by Boasson Hagen. A climber in the making, he won stage 2 in the Giro della Valle d’Aosta in Italy in July. He has signed for FDJ in 2017. “It’ll be my first time at the Arctic Race”, said the rider from Askøy (Bergen). “I can’t wait for it because I’ve only heard good things about the event, especially the views! I want to fight for a stage victory. It could be the third one, finishing uphill. It’ll also be a good preparation for the Tour de l’Avenir.”

 

His team-mate Vegard Stake Laengen recently won the Tour d’Alsace in which Bjørn Tore Hoem, 24, also from Team Joker, claimed stage 1. Team Coop-Øster Hus also found success in France. August Jensen, 23, who hails from Bodø and is therefore considered the “enfant du pays” at the ARN, won the Kreizh Breizh overall and Fredrik Galta, 22, claimed two stage victories… on the same day! “I hope to keep my good condition for the Arctic Race”, Galta commented. “I’ll be looking for a good stage result and also the overall as at the Tour of Norway [4th overall] I showed to myself that everything is possible.”

 

Andreas Vangstad, 23, also came of age at the Tour of Norway by winning the last stage. Since then, the strong rouleur from Sparebanken Sør who recently took up cycling won the Tour of Fyen in Denmark and came second to the inevitable Boasson Hagen at the Norwegian championship for individual time trial. With so many talents popping up, the public’s interest for national cyclists is growing together with the Arctic Race of Norway.

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