Tour des Fjords and Hammer Stavanger 2018 courses
During the UCI Road World Championships in Bergen, Tour des Fjords director Roy Hegreberg unveiled details for the next two big cycling events on Norwegian soil, Tour des Fjords and Hammer Stavanger, the newcomer in Norway’s cycling calendar.
In 2018, Tour des Fjords consists of three stages across Southern Norway. The race starts on Tuesday, May 22nd in Lindesnes and ends in Egersund on Thursday, May 24th. Tour des Fjords will then be followed immediately by the new Hammer Series event in Sandnes and Stavanger (Friday, May 25th to Sunday, May 27th).
Hammer is an innovative new format developed by Velon and the international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media. Organized by Tour des Fjords AS under the Hammer Series brand, the Stavanger event forms part of a global race series which will attract an unprecedented number of WorldTour teams.
Tour des Fjords 2018 - From Lindesnes to Egersund
«The course for next year is more "open" than ever - it puts more riders in contention for victory», says event director Roy Hegreberg. «The race gets harder from day to day and excitement is guaranteed until the last kilometer». TV expert and former pro cyclist Dag Otto Lauritzen is especially looking forward to the second stage finishing in his home town Grimstad: «I expect three days of great racing on a course showcasing the beauty of another Norwegian region».
May 22nd - Stage 1: Lindesnes > Grimstad (189 km)
The 2018 Tour des Fjords begins on the southernmost tip of Norway, Lindesnes, staying in the counties of Vest-Agder and Aust-Agder until the finish in the western coastal town of Egersund. A 189 kilometer undulating route leads from Lindesnes to the west and two local laps in Grimstad, home of two Norwegian cycling heroes. Dag Otto Lauritzen (1987 Tour de France stage winner, 1984 Olympic bronze medalist) and Thor Hushovd (10x Tour de France stage winner, 2x Tour de France green jersey winner, 2010 World Champion) are both from here.
May 23rd - Stage 2: Risør > Kristiansand (180 km)
Stage 2 starts in Risør and heads south over 180 km to the port city of Kristiansand. The finale is contested on a local circuit where two laps up Gimlekollen will shake up the general classification.
May 24th - Stage 3: Farsund > Egersund (178 km)
The decisive 178 km final stage takes us from Farsund to Egersund in the county of Rogaland. This tough stage features multiple climbs along Norway’s west coast, offering a chance of overall victory to attacking riders. Whoever crosses the finish line first after two final local laps will most likely be successor to Edvald Boasson Hagen, overall winner in 2017.
Hammer Stavanger – A dynamic and ground breaking new race format
The second race in 2018, Hammer Stavanger, is a revolutionary team-based format featuring three races on fan-friendly circuits that successfully premiered this year in Limburg in the Netherlands. Hammer Series brings bike racing closer than ever for fans at the event, on TV and online. Fans can expect perks like shorter races of around two hours, live on-board cameras, in-race rider performance data, a cycling expo, sportives, a family day and fan zones close to the teams and riders. «Over the next five years Hammer will boost Norwegian cycling and help to develop the sport and economy in the area», Roy Hegreberg is convinced. «Our goal is to make the Stavanger region more attractive to the world’s cyclists, and to develop into the biggest cycling event in Scandinavia».
Local hero Alexander Kristoff expects to participate with his new team UAE Team Emirates: «It is an exciting concept. I know the roads, all three stages seem to suit me very well and the climbs are not too hard. We will be one of the contenders for victory».
May 25th: Hammer CLIMB
Teams fight for points in the Hammer Climb: 10 laps of an 8,5 km circuit between the Sandnes fan zone and the climb at Skaarlia (one kilometre, average seven per cent gradient).
May 26th: Hammer SPRINT
The Hammer Sprint - 10 laps of an action-packed 10 km course through Stavanger and Eiganes - will see teams sprint for points each time they cross the finish line at the Stavanger Forum expo area.
May 27th: Hammer CHASE
The decisive Hammer Chase is a team pursuit: three laps from Stavanger Forum along Hafrsfjord and Gandsfjord. Starting positions are determined by the standings after two days, and the first team with four riders over the finish line will become the overall winner of Hammer Stavanger. At the inaugural Hammer Series event in June at Sportzone Limburg, Team Sky triumphed in a thrilling final-straight sprint against the newly crowned team time trial world champions of Team Sunweb.