Notching no less than three consecutive sprint wins at the Three Days of De Panne this week, Katusha's Alexander Kristoff is feeling good about his chances at the Tour of Flanders on Sunday.
The Norwegian's chances are further improved with the help of teammate and, for this weekend, super-domestique Luca Paolini, who just won the wind-pummelled Gent-Wevelgem last weekend.
Although boasting plenty of cobbles — with more than a dozen pavé sections between 300m and 2650m in length — the Tour of Flanders evidently isn't harsh enough for Kristoff to forego the aerodynamic benefit of his Canyon Aeroad CF SLX. (Most if not all Katusha riders will switch to Canyon's Ultimate CF SLX for Paris-Roubiax next weekend. Kristoff instead will rely on the cushion of 25mm Veloflex tubulars and his custom Selle Italia SLR saddle to take the edge off the kasseien.
Saddle covers and custom paint aren't the only pro-only touches on Kristoff's bike; his front Mavic Cosmic Carbone features a team-only rim, which is wider and much more snub-nosed than the consumer model. The rear Cosmic Carbone is stock.
As befits a sprinter, Kristoff has Di2 shift buttons on the inside of his bars. He will be hoping to put those to good use come the finale of De Ronde van Vlaanderen on Sunday.