Alexander Kristoff showed again in the second part of 2017 that he is one of the best riders when it comes to sprints and one-day races, winning the European championships and claiming the silver medal at the Worlds, mere centimetres behind Peter Sagan. The former winner of Milan – Sanremo (2014) and Tour of Flanders (2015) is back into action with a new kit, after signing with UAE Team Emirates. And he’s determined to remind everyone that he is also a man of the Spring.
Tour of Oman 13.2.18 to 18.2.18
Who will be the best sprinter of the Tour of Oman?
Mark Cavendish is a good sprinter, he’s showed it many times. The level of the sprints will be high. But I’ve done good sprints here before (7 stage wins) so I hope that I’ll be among the best and that I can win again.
What are you looking for in the Tour of Oman?
It’s part of my build-up for the Classics. I’ve actually participated in every edition. I don’t know if many other people have been there every year… With Dubai and Abu Dhabi, I have like a Grand Tour here in the Middle-East. I know Cavendish is doing the same. I hope to start winning some races. And the main point is to build shape for the Classics.
What’s special about the Tour of Oman?
In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the buildings are more modern, in Oman it’s classic oriental and I like it. When you think of Arabia, Oman is one of the countries that reflects that. And also the nature is more spectacular with the mountains. Normally, we always have a nice weather and a good race, so it will be nice!
You’re coming with your new team, UAE Team Emirates, after six years with Katusha…
Now I’m quite used to getting the new kit on. I feel good in the new team, with UAE. I had a really good time in Katusha for sure, there are many good guys. I’ve seen them again and they are my friends, but now I also get new friends from UAE and I feel like at home already.
How would you describe your role in the team?
I will be a captain for the sprints and classics. And then we have other captains for Ardennes classics and the Tours. The Classics are my big goal for the season. The first target will be Sanremo and then I want to be in top shape until Roubaix. The Tour will be my second big goal. I think we’ll split the team 50/50 with Dan Martin. He will need support as he goes for a good general classification.
The Tour of Oman is an opportunity to see how well you understand each other with your new teammates in the sprints. What do you expect ?
We’ve trained a bit for the sprints in the first training camp, where we were almost all together, but not during the last one. (Simone) Consonni was in Australia, (Filippo) Ganna was in Argentina ; we’ve been a little bit spread out. But we all know what we need to do and we just need to make a good plan before and try to execute it. My only issue is Consonni is quite small so I won’t get too much draft (laughs).
Foto: Gerhard Plomitzer