Preview: Arctic Race of Norway

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Bernie Eisel makes his return to Arctic Race of Norway where he surprised all, not least himself, in capturing the King of the Mountains category in 2017.

Eisel’s season has been disrupted by injury but he made a racing return at the Grand Prix Cerami, followed by the RideLondon-Surrey Classic and then the Tour de Pologne. Last year his prize, 500kg of the finest Norwegian salmon, saw the Austrian’s already sky-popularity soar to even greater heights among his teammates.

Our line-up also includes Mekseb Debesay, most recently in action at Tour de Wallonie, and Jacques Janse van Rensburg who’s ridden the Giro d’Italia, Tour of the Alps and Tour of Austria, among other races this year so far. Both will be looking at taking their chances on the hilly parcours

Joining them will be two of our recently announced stagiaires, Kent Main and Connor Swift.

Main, 22, joins us from our continental team as he looks to make his mark on the World Tour.

While we’re delighted to have the British Champion, Connor Swift, represent us for the 1st time. Swift claimed the national title in July for his Madison Genesis team, as he beat a high-class field in Northumberland, soloing to victory.

Mark Cavendish will not be participating as he continues his recovery that saw him advised to miss out on the recent European Championships in Glasgow. An update on Mark’s return to racing will be given in due course.

The 4-stage race gets underway in Vadsø and features hilly outings across all of those with the final effort the 145.5km stage from Kvalsund to Alta.

Bernie Eisel – Rider

I’m really looking forward to heading back to Norway, I was included last-minute for this race but I’m super-happy. I haven’t raced that much this year so I’m very excited to be going back there, and discover more of Norway, especially here in the north near the Russian border.

Of course winning the KOM jersey last year wasn’t expected but I won’t be defending that this year. I’m just happy to be back on the bike and back in Norway.

It’s a great race, a little more adventurous. I’ve done all the races in Europe and going that far north is always really exciting for me. Let’s hope the weather is as nice as last year but it’s also nice there when it rains.

Our line-up:

Bernie Eisel
Connor Swift
Jacques Janse van Rensburg
Kent Main
Mekseb Debesay

Image Explained:

At 71˚North, Honningsvåg is the northern most city in Norway & hosts the departure of stage 3 of the @arcticraceofn that finishes in Hammerfest.

Arriving via ferry the riders will be greeted by the statue of Bamse, the St Bernard who served in the Free Norwegian Forces during World War 2.

Bamse was enrolled in the Royal Norwegian Navy as an official crew member of the Thorodd patrol ship on 9 February 1940.

The boisterous Bamse lifted the morale of the ship’s crew, and became well known to the local civilian population in both his occupied homeland and adopted wartime home of Montrose, Scotland, where a similar statue looks out towards Honningsvåg.

Curiously at the same time on the opposite side of the world in South Africa, Great Dane #JustNuisance was enlisted in the Royal Navy, in Simonstown – which is always worth a visit by bike if you find yourself in Cape Town.