Kristoff gives up on Tour de France green jersey pursuit

Norwegian starts Amiens sprint too early, finishes fourth

Before the Tour de France began it was hard to predict who would be in the mix for the green jersey as leader of the points classification. Of course Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) was among the names but so was Alexander Kristoff (Katusha).

The Norwegian classics specialist won two stages in last year’s Tour de France but has failed to leave his mark so far. After five stages that included two bunch sprints, it turns out André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) bagged two victories and currently holds the green jersey.

During Wednesday’s bunch sprint finish in Amiens, the 28-year-old Kristoff started his sprint from too far out, finishing fourth. Kristoff said he missed his teammates to lead him out in the sprint.

“There were a lot of crashes," he said. "It was very slippery. I lost two of my guys in the last crashes with about 20km to go. I was near the crash but I managed to steer away. Then I didn’t have any guys left in the final 20km.

“I managed to move up by myself quite easily. Actually I had a position that was too good. I was too early in the front. I had no wheels to follow so I had to start by myself. When they stopped I tried not to sprint and to keep steady.

“Anyway, it was a little bit uphill and being that early in the wind meant that it was way too long for me.”

As for the green jersey, Kristoff collected a mere 28 points after four stages, whereas André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) leads with 151 points. When asked of the green jersey was still a goal for him, Kristoff seemed to realize that his dream of winning the points classification could be over.

“Not anymore, no,” Kristoff said shortly after crossing the line in Amiens.

During the spring classics, Kristoff bagged a couple of impressive wins, including the RoTour of Flanders. It might help him to deal with his difficult days at the Tour de France. Kristoff tried to build confidence from what was going well.

“I was still there in the mix. I had a strong sprint but it was too long. It gives me confidence that I’m where I should be. Of course I would prefer to win but it’s not easy to win at the Tour.”

Thursday’s stage from Abbéville to Le Havre is a rolling stage that might be too hard for the pure sprinters like André Greipel.

“There’s a chance tomorrow, but it will be quite hard. It will be better for guys like Sagan and Degenkolb. I’ll try of course, but I think today was a good shot for me but I failed. I did not make a top result. That’s a pity but there are more days to come. Tomorrow is a good day.” 

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