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Professional bike riders cycling on a scenic road on Lofoten in Norway
Arctic Race of Norway.
Photo: Rune Dahl / Arctic Race of Norway

The Arctic Race of Norway (ARN) is more than a competition; it’s a cycling race with the ambition to be a catalyst for change. In 2020, they started cooperating with the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) in an effort to create jobs for people who have been excluded from the job market. They also started a partnership with Innovation Norway with the aim to explore how the event can be more sustainable and innovative.

When thinking about sport in Norway, images of pristine white ski slopes and cross-country tracks in beautiful surroundings spring to mind. If you ask Norwegians about the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, many will bring up fond memories with a nostalgic smile on their faces. But Norway knows how to organise world-class events in other sports too, and even events that aim to be a catalyst for change. A great recent example is the Arctic Race of Norway (ARN).

Solid partnerships bring cycling teams to Norway’s stunning scenery

In 2013, Knut-Eirik Dybdal, managing director of ARN, had the idea to organise a pro cycling race to offer opportunities for young cyclists while putting the spotlight on Northern Norway. To be able to kick off his vision, he contacted several potential partners to gather a team of like-minded people.

Eventually, Dybdal got in touch with the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO). This organisation is the driving force behind some of world's biggest cycling events, including Tour de France and Vuelta a España, but also other sport events like the Dakar Rally. ASO agreed to get on board and to support Dybdal with experience and expertise in organisation, logistics, and anything else needed to roll out the event.

Dybdal also established a good relationship with the Norwegian Cycling Federation, the local business network, and the county and municipality administrations in Northern Norway. Together they managed to set up a top-quality event for everyone involved: cyclists, teams, partners and sponsors, media, and of course the public. From the beginning, ARN has been a major driver for the promotion of Northern Norway and for cycling in general.

A girl chearing on the peloton at the Arctic Race of Norway
Arctic Race of Norway.
Photo: Rune Dahl / ARN

The Arctic Race of Norway as a driver for sustainable sport events

From the get-go, the ARN has always had sustainability at the top of its priority list. A great example is the efforts to make their car fleet more sustainable. For most professional cycling teams, Northern Norway is a remote destination. The organisation provides every team with a few cars upon arrival, so they don't need to drive their own cars all the way up north. A substantial part of ARN’s car fleet is electric, and they have the ambition to make it 100% electric by 2023.

The new partnership with Innovation Norway is a chance to take these ambitions even further. They hope to make ARN the most sustainable professional cycling race in the world and develop the Norwegian Arctic as a world-leading region for testing new sustainable solutions. This will no doubt attract investments, talents and tourists as well as encourage collaboration and inspire others to start similar projects.

The peloton of the Arctic Race of Norway cycling in the scenic landscape of Northern Norway
Arctic Race of Norway.
Photo: ARN / Rune Dahl

Christian Prudhomme, general director of the Tour de France, also sees the value of the ARN’s ambitions and how they can drive change in the cycling world: "This is yet another proof that the Arctic Race of Norway is much more than just a cycling race. The project is an important step forward towards a more responsible and eco-friendly world. Just as the Tour de France, the Arctic Race of Norway also runs through majestic natural beauty, and it’s our duty to reduce our impact on this fragile scenery as much as we can."

For more practical information, have a look at our sports events page. Learn more about Norway’s stunning natural beauty and the country’s efforts in sustainability

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