Tour des Fjords AS and Interspons AS have agreed to merge the Tour des Fjords and Tour of Norway, establishing a new stage six-day stage race from 2019.
The merger creates a nine-day Norwegian cycling festival, with the second edition of Hammer Stavangertaking place on 24-26 May 2019, before the new six-day stage race (28 May-2 June 2019). The name of the new stage race is to be confirmed.
Tour des Fjords AS established Hammer Stavanger in 2018 in partnership with Velon Ltd and Infront Sport & Media AG, and also partnered with Velon at the Tour des Fjords. The ongoing partnership with Velon guarantees participation of top UCI WorldTour teams across the nine days of racing.
Tour des Fjords AS will be the owner of the new stage race, with Interspons AS bringing expertise and resources as a partner.
The modern Tour of Norway began life as the Fossen Grand Prix in 1975, later becoming the Ringerike GP, and for many years was the only UCI-sanctioned road race in Norway.
Tour of Norway founder and Interspons AS CEO Birger Hungerholdt said: "This is a major step towards making a bigger and stronger event. We look forward to developing the concept and helping cycling in Norway to grow."
Roy Hegreberg, CEO of Tour des Fjords AS, added: “Norway has grown into a powerful cycling nation with world-class riders like Thor Hushovd, Alexander Kristoff and Edvald Boasson Hagen. We have established two strong races, Tour des Fjords and Tour of Norway, with Hammer Stavanger added in 2018.
"Our deal with Velon secures a strong line-up for the coming years and we want to build a longer and better stage race. We are delighted to join forces with Tour of Norway and together with their expertise I am confident we can build a bigger and better race for riders, sponsors and fans. The riders will compete over nine days in the beautiful diversity of our Norwegian landscape, from fjords to mountains, from beaches to cities, west to east and south to north."
Velon CEO Graham Bartlett said: "For Velon and the Velon teams and riders, supporting this new race is very exciting. Working with race organisers who share our ideas for the sport - partnerships that establish a better business model for both and deliver more to the fans - is what we are all about.
Uno X, the Tour of Norway’s main sponsor, will continue in that capacity with the new stage race, and said: "We are pleased to see that East and West unite about a long-term and solid concept.”
Norwegian rider Alexander Kristoff, UAE Team Emirates, said: "I have good memories from the Tour des Fjords and Tour of Norway. By joining the best resources in Norwegian cycling, I'm sure we'll have an even better race over coming years.”