Arctic Race of Norway 2015 – Scottish Junior Team

Last weekend I travelled over to Narvik in Norway as Team Coach, with Peter Clark as Team Leader and the nine riders of the Scottish Junior Team.

Mens Team: Alistair Merry, Danny Hedley, Grant Martin, Jordan Stronach, Zak Loney. Womens Team: Ashleigh Fraser, Emma Borthwick, Lulu Bartlett, Sara Bradford.

Sponsored by Statoil this is a hugely prestigious event for Junior racers with an fully international field, tagged onto the professional stage race that weekend of the same name.

Flying over Friday, we arrived late in the evening to the university accommodation and    preceded to get the bikes built and checked. Sat then involved a pre-race ride to open up the legs and together as a team we reviewed the 8 Km circuit. Contained within Narvik it was steep and challenging with leg busting climbs opening up to fast & technical descents. It was going to be a good race for sure! That evening a seminar/workshop was held with Thor Hushovd, the race ambassador, giving the junior riders insight and aspiration into what is required to become a professional bike rider.

Race day on Sunday was a huge fanfare with massive crowds gathered for roll out of the Pro race. Keeping everyone calm, relaxed and focused on the task at hand was key for Peter and myself, as well as ensuring they were well hydrated in the hot conditions!

Both our men and women’s team rode strongly in a very competitive field with our highest placed finishers being Ashleigh Fraser (12th) and Sara Bradford (13th) showing the true nature of team work, riding together and crossing the line side by side.

This was a massive learning experience for the team and we were delighted to learn that Statoil have signed up to support the event for another 3 years. Plans are already afoot and I’m looking forward to developing the Scottish team for 2016.

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