Never has China Glory Cycling raced so far up north as they will this week in Norway. In general, the Arctic Race of Norway is the northernmost race on the planet, far above the polar circle. Temperatures dropped from 33 degrees at the service course in Nice to 6 degrees in the Scandinavian country.
In other words, totally different racing circumstances for the team as they travel up north for four days of racing. While most of Europe is experiencing the hottest year in centuries, the north of Norway has not been so ‘lucky’. The forecast is tough: rain and cold will definitely have their influence on the race.
The Arctic Race of Norway will be Matteo Malucelli’s first race with China Glory Cycling. The Italian sprinter joined on the first of August and will immediately get a chance to shine in the Scandinavian stage race.
Malucelli’s last race was the National Championship of Italy, and 45 days passed since then. “My training won’t be the issue,” the Italian says. “I have trained a lot and I feel I am ready to race again. However, it is always difficult to say when one has been out of competition for such a long time. If I am at the level that I had at the beginning of the season, I am sure the Arctic Race can become a nice one.”
General manager Maarten Tjallingii hopes that everyone will see Malucelli battling it out against the biggest sprinters in Norway. The Dutch manager also thinks Sean Bennett can do well in the mountainous stage.
“For our Chinese riders, Xu, Bieken and Lyu, this is going to be an interesting race in circumstances that they are not used to,” Tjallingii continues. “Personally, I hope to see them racing aggressively, for instance by joining early breakaways. We have to see how they deal with such weather conditions though.”
The Arctic Race of Norway starts on Thursday and finishes on Sunday.