Preliminary Startlist: The Best Line Up Ever
Some of the world’s best classics riders will line up in Tour des Fjords, together with several top sprinters.
Edvald Boasson Hagen won last year's Tour des Fjords, and on the 22nd of May, he lines up to defend the title. The 30 years old Norwegian will, among others, be joined by Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, a great leadout rider who was key for the Norwegian in Tour de France last summer, where he gave Boasson Hagen a great position on several sprint stages. In Tour des Fjords, they join forces again.
– The competition has never been tougher. Edvald is a world class rider, and he's at home. His wife is from Grimstad, and I expect he wishes to show himself for the home crowd, says race director Roy Hegreberg.
Monument winner plans to ride
Several of the Northern Classics specialist will race Tour des Fjords. Seeing the preliminary startlist, the top name must be the Dutchman Niki Terpstra. The rider from Quick-Step Floors won this year's Tour of Flanders, and he has also won a previous edition of Paris-Roubaix. The best team in the world will also have their great talent Fabio Jakobsen at the start. Jakobsen is another strong rider, and he also bags a fast sprint, making him a challenger for several stages in this year's Tour des Fjords.
Another top, top cobbles rider planning to do Tour des Fjords, is Sep Vanmarkce, from Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale. He fought against Terpstra and the other cobblers this spring, and he was close to winning on a number of occasions. Though, in the end he came away from the classics campaign with sixth place in Paris-Roubaix, and third place in Dwars door Vlaanderen.
– Niki Terpstra is the most prolific rider at the start. With the strength Quick-Step Floors has shown so far this year, it's logical that they must be seen as one of the favourites for overall glory. Team Sunweb brings a very strong team, and the same can be said about Team EF Education First Drapac p/b Cannondale, where both Vanmarcke and Breschel will ride. Team Sky has Kristoffer Halvorsen, and you will expect them to fight for victories, says Hegreberg.
Top teams - top riders
There's no doubt this year's edition of Tour des Fjords has the strongest field ever.
Another World Tour team, Team Sunweb, brings sprinters Phil Bauhaus and Edward Theuns, but also the Danish puncheur Søren Kragh. Kragh came close to the overall win back in 2015 after winning stage 4.
– This is without a doubt the best start field we've ever had. We've got nine World Tour teams, eight pro continental teams and four strong continental teams. It will be a very demanding fight for stage glory, the jerseys and the overall classification, says Hegreberg.
Looking to Mitchelton-Scott, the Aussies comes to Sørlandet with a powerful and talented team. They've got the Suisse veteran Michael Albasini and classics rider Luke Durbridge, but also talents like Robert Power, Lucas Hamilton and Carlos Verona, in addition to road captain Cameron Meyer. Albasini is still waiting for his first win this season, it could well come in Tour des Fjords.
Norwegian leads Team Sky
Kristoffer Halvorsen said to Fædrelandsvennen that he targets a stage win in Tour des Fjords, and the former U23 World Champion will have lots of support from his team mates. Other Norwegian pro riders racing Tour des Fjords, are Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Team LottoNL-Jumbo), Sondre Holst Enger and August Jensen (both Israel Cycling Academy). All three have the potential to fight for stage glory and place high in the overall classification.
Looking at the pro continental teams, Jan Tratnik leads the line for CCC Sprandi Polkowice, while the fast men Eduard Grosu and Juan José Lobato (Nippo-Vini Fantini - Europa Ovini), and former winner of Tour of Norway Pieter Weening, all will be riders fancying their chances in Tour des Fjords.
Danish continental team Team Virtu brings several riders who should challenge the World Tour teams, with Alexander Kamp, Rasmus Guldhammer and Asbjørn Kragh expected to lead them.
The three Norwegian continental teams will fancy their chances. You would expect to see them at the front of the race in breakaways, but also giving their best in the finishes as well. Team Joker Icopal comes here with their sprinter Herman Dahl, who did a great Tour de Bretagne in late April and early May, while Team Coop will be led by local rider Krister Hagen, who won twice in Croatia early this season. For Uno-X Development Team, Anders Skaarseth looks to be their main man, and he could well fight for a top 10 on several stages, with his good sprint and abilities on the hills.
Tour des Fjords starts at the 22nd of May in Lindesnes, and will finish in Egersund on the 24th of May. Nine World Tour teams, eight pro continental teams and four continental teams take part in the race.