Rally UHC Cycling arrived in Scandinavia this week to take part in the Arctic Race of Norway for the second consecutive year. Starting in the southwestern village of Å on August 15, the race travels 687 km through the Lofoten archipelago before finishing in the town of Narvik on August 18th. The four day race was home to the team’s first ever HC stage win on European soil when Colin Joyce won stage 2 into Kjøllefjord in 2018.
With the entire race taking place within the Arctic Circle, riders will be greeted by their longest days of the entire season.
To take on the race that never sleeps Rally UHC Cycling sends Joyce and fellow sprinter Ryan Anderson to contest the bunch kicks. Newly-crowned Canadian Road Champion Adam de Vos will play opportunist alongside breakaway slayer Robin Carpenter. The team’s GC hopes lie with Giro di Sicilia champ Brandon McNulty while team captain Svein Tuft reinforces and completes the formidable roster.
Since his breakout victory in Norway last season, Joyce has found his place within the team and the pro peloton.
“Winning a stage definitely gave me a nice confidence boost,” said Joyce. “Wins don’t come often, so to get one at that level was really special. Since then, I’ve learned to embrace the pressure and the team has given me what I need to succeed.”
Rally UHC Cycling races in exotic locations around the globe, but Norway’s impression on the team is undeniable.
“Racing in Norway last year was such a great experience,” said Joyce. “It’s a really beautiful country and the stages were relentless.”
After finishing third in the overall classification in 2018, Joyce admits that the addition of the Storheia Summit finish on stage 3 will shift the team’s focus. Averaging over 10% for 3 km, the overall classification will likely be decided on its slopes.
“They added a really hard summit finish that will suit Brandon pretty well,” said Joyce. “But we’ll approach this race the same as any other. Come up with a game plan and try to win.”
Arctic Race of Norway stage details (August 15 – 18)
Stage 1 – Å › Leknes (181k) Two hills late, sprint expected
Stage 2 – Henningsvær › Svolvær (164k) flat, sprint or possible breakaway
Stage 3 – Sortland › Storheia Summit (Melbu) (176.5k) mountaintop finish, GC battle
Stage 4 – Lødingen › Narvik (165.5k) three laps on challenging finish circuit, attacks expected