RACE: Arctic Race of Norway, stages three and four
DATE: Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 August

Sometimes race photography, especially from early season races in Europe, struggles to convey what the conditions were really like for riders. The image of Stevie Williams celebrating his stage three success at the Arctic Race of Norway in mid-August leaves little to the imagination.

The Welshman’s face looks a little fatigued. A neckwarmer sits loosely under his chin, while his arms and hands are covered by clothing normally reserved for the winter months. Most of the riders he beat to claim his first victory for IPT on the island of Havøya sprinted for the line in their rain jackets, sacrificing any aero gains for that extra bit of warmth. On a deeply unpleasant day, Williams and his IPT teammates delivered a classy and arguably underrated performance.

He said: “The main thing was trying to stay warm and trying to make sure we did all the basics right.”

Guy Sagiv kept the day’s breakaway in check to begin. Then, when rival teams wanted to split the race in crosswind-affected sections, Reto Hollenstein and Daryl Impey kept everything together. On the short but sharp climb up to the finish line at Havøysund, Marco Frigo set an unforgiving pace to weaken the opposition. Dylan Teuns attacked before Williams countered it beautifully.

“It was great teamwork today and I’m really happy to finish it off like that,” he said.

The second part of a job well done came the following day. Teuns – who placed fifth on stage three – remained active in the main group, covering surges and even rolling the dice for his chances, before sprinting to a solid eighth place on the line. Williams rode confidently and attentively, ensuring that Astana Qazaqstan Team’s Christian Scaroni didn’t overturn his one-second deficit on GC.

“Both Stevie and Dylan were good enough to win the race,” said sports director Steve Bauer. “It was a great ride, so congratulations to them and the whole team.”

Shortly after this victory, IPT announced that Williams will stay with the team through to the end of 2025.