Alexander Kristoff was left frustrated and angry after what he deemed as a missed opportunity for a victory at the World Championships. Kristoff was beaten into seventh place by his teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen, who was supposed to be riding for him.
Despite having spoken at length to several Norwegian journalists by the time he reached Cyclingnews, Kristoff was still visibly annoyed by how things had panned out. He questioned Boasson Hagen's motives, saying that having to go up against his teammate had lost him any chance contesting the win.
"Honestly, I don't know [what happened]. For sure, he saw me because he looked back and saw me on his wheel but then he didn't react. He was just waiting and waiting," Kristoff told Cyclingnews.
"I was in the wheel of Edvald with 500 metres to go and I was really thinking that he should move but, unfortunately for me he was waiting and waiting, and then he was sprinting for himself. I was on the way to pass him but then he went out also so then I lost a bit of rhythm so then I was never really in the position to win.
"I was pretty pissed when I passed the finish line because he could have done a perfect lead-out but in the end we finished sixth and seventh. That's nothing to come home with."
A replay of the final sprint shows Kristoff moving out to the left-hand side of the road to avoid a near collision between Michael Matthews and Tom Boonen on the final bend. Kristoff then uses British rider Adam Blythe as a lead-out man but then is shoved off his wheel as Boasson Hagen switches to the left, directly in front of him. Boasson Hagen eventually moves right, giving Kristoff free road but the two tangle again when Boasson Hagen moves to get out of the way of a fast coming Mark Cavendish.
"It was for Alex, and I was trying for a few attacks. I didn't attack myself but I tried to follow when Van Avermaet and Terpstra tried and then it got to the sprint. I tried to do the sprint. I had hoped to sprint for Alex but it didn't work like that," Boasson Hagen told Cyclingnews.
"There were six places in front of us that were better so absolutely it was possible but we didn't manage it. It's a bit shit but we can't do the race again."
Things had been going well for Norway up until that point, after they managed to get four riders into the race-winning split. The 23-year-old debutant Truls Korsaeth joined his more experienced teammates Kristoff and Boasson Hagen. Korsaeth, who rides for the Norwegian continental squad Team Joker – Byggtorgetm, held his own in a group that contained some serious pedigree, and contributed to the chasing when a few late attacks went off the front.
"It was quite a hard day at the start. We managed to get four guys in there but then Belgium made it a half road and we lost one so then we were three," said Kristoff.
"I think that we had three guys that were looking strong especially Truls being a Continental rider and racing at this level. He was there until the end. He was impressive today and I wish that I could have brought something home but me and Edvald fucked it up at the end.
"I thought it would be a bigger group at the end but when Belgium wanted to keep the gap, then nobody could come back."