First 17 teams ready for Tour des Fjords 2017
Exactly 51 days before the start of the fifth edition of Tour des Fjords, the the first 17 teams that will be on the starting line in Sogn and Fjordane on May 24 have been announced. Two WorldTour teams, including Edvald Boasson Hagen’s Team Dimension Data and Team Lotto NL-Jumbo, are leading the lineup, several more top teams are about to follow.
On the list of confirmed teams so far are two squads of the top tier WorldTour, seven Professional Continental teams and eight Continental teams, including the five Norwegian ones. One of the WorldTour teams is South African outlet Team Dimension Data of Mark Cavendish and Edvald Boasson Hagen. If confirmed for the team’s roster, the 29-year Norwegian could be a serious contender for the overall victory. As is the Dutch Team Lotto NL-Jumbo, home to several strong allrounders and classics riders, including young Norwegian Amund Grøndahl Jensen, who showed a promising performance in his first year as a professional at Sunday’s Tour of Flanders
The seven Professional Continental teams include the return of Caja Rural-Seguros from Spain, who put their mark on the race in 2015, Roompot from the Netherlands and Belgian talent factory Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise. New to the roads of Fjord Norway are the strong Polish team CCC Sprandi Polkowice, Verandas Willems-Crelan of two times Tour of Flanders winner Stijn Devolder, Manzana-Postobon from Colombia and Israel Cycling Academy.
Five Norwegian teams lead the list of Continental teams: Team Coop, Joker Icopal, Sparebanken Sør, Fixit and the newly formed Uno-X Hydrogen Development team, bringing a lot of hungry Norwegian talent to the race. Also confirmed are Bjarne Riis’ new cycling project Team VéloConcept, their Danish rivals Riwal Platform and Swedish Team Tre Berg.
“We are happy to present a good mix of established teams and fresh new faces this year”, announces event director Roy Hegreberg. “A lot of the teams we know from past appearances, and the new additions will keep the race open and exciting.” Especially for the Norwegian teams expectations are high on home ground. “Team Coop and Uno-X had a strong start to the season abroad, and we can also expect Team Joker to maintain the strong level that they are currently racing on in Belgium.”
Working for Kristoff to re-join the race
Two to three more WorldTour teams are about to be confirmed in the coming weeks, adding to one of the most competitive lineups of the past five years. Not amongst them will be Team Katusha with local hero and two times Tour des Fjords winner Alexander Kristoff. “It’s not a secret that racing in front of home crowds means a great deal to Alexander”, says Hegreberg, who nonetheless believes in last year’s overall winner joining the race. Even if it isn’t in the colors of his trade team. “We are currently in talks with the Norwegian Cycling Federation about bringing the Norwegian national team to Tour des Fjords.” A solution that would be a win-win situation for Kristoff, the race and the fans. “They would get to see many other high profile Norwegian riders who are not able to bring an entire team to our race.” A decision on that matter is expected in the coming days.
In total, the peloton of Tour des Fjords 2017 will consist of 24 teams. They will select their riders for the race in the next few weeks. With the Giro d’Italia running in parallel to this year’s Tour des Fjords, the door is open for top riders using the event as part of their Tour de France preparation.
Tour des Fjords 2017 starts on May 24 in Sogn og Fjordane and consists of five stages. Stage one finishes in Førde, with the race continuing further South to Norheimsund and Karmøy before the well-known stages around Sandnes and the finale in Stavanger on May 28.
Already confirmed teams for Tour des Fjords 2017:
Team Lotto NL – Jumbo (NED)
Team Dimension Data (RSA)
Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij (NED)
Caja Rural - Seguros RGA (ESP)
Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise (BEL)
CCC Sprandi Polkowice (POL)
Israel Cycling Academy (ISR)
Manzana – Postobon (COL)
Verandas Willems-Crelan (BEL)
Team Coop (NOR)
Uno-X Hydrogen Development Team (NOR)
Joker Icopal (NOR)
Sparebanken Sør (NOR)
Team VéloCONCEPT (DEN)
Team Tre Berg – PostNord (SWE)
Riwal Platform Cycling Team (DEN)