Tour of Norway | Cycling in Troll(stigen) country

It is difficult to find a more magical and beautiful setting to experience the joy of cycling than the Tour of Norway. Taking in some of the country’s most striking views, there are few things in the world that can possibly compare to the sensation of progressing through the five stages on offer this year. Running from Wednesday the 17th to Sunday the 21st of May, the heady climbs and sweeping scenery is a fast growing competition on the UCI Europe Tour.

Having only started in 2011 the Tour of Norway is still a relatively unknown contest, however having been set up as a direct result of the growing popularity of the sport in Norway, there is no wonder why the competition is well loved among cyclists and spectators alike. With Norwegian talent having already shown serious competition since the tour’s start, there is no doubt that the home fans will be out in force to encourage the ever popular Edvald Boasson Hagen once again.

cycling norway_v2.jpg

Starting with a swift 169km on the first day, there will be little opportunity for the riders to stop and enjoy the scenery on the first stage of the tour. Traveling from Hønefoss to Asker and a peak altitude of 219m above sea level, the tour starts with a bang and doesn’t get much easier from there.  Only two major climbs on the first day there is plenty of opportunity for a dramatic intro to cycling in Norway.

The second stage, taking in the sights of Eidsvoll to Brumunddal (and there are plenty in between) could be considered much more demanding in many ways. The climbs are steep, the heights are daunting and there is little relief to those heavy legs except for the glorious surroundings and fresh air bringing much needed revitalisation.

A visit to the infamous town of Lillehammer takes place on the third stage, however a brutal 192km from Hamar stands in the way for the competitors. Technically they reach Lillehammer after only 119km however before they can hang up their boots and take off their helmets there is a hill to climb. Not once, not twice but three times up the 9.3% climb reaching a peak altitude of 473m. The views from up there must be something special, indeed.

The penultimate day brings a sense of winding up for the final push. 194km from Lillestrøm to Sarpsborg, the longest climb consists of a relatively short 1.3km. Vast expanses of lower level road racing this is endurance to the max, building up to the final showdown on the Sunday.

The final day brings the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The dramatic scenery fits perfectly with the suspense the last stage is no doubt going to bring. The shortest stage of the five at only 155km, there is no better way to enter the capital city than knowing the most beautiful tour on the circuit has just be completed. I know I can’t wait to tune in!

Matt Franks