One week after his splendid win at Milan-San Remo there seemed to be another good chance for Alexandre Kristoff (Katusha) to add a big win to his palmarès in Gent-Wevelgem. This time, the 26-year-old Norwegian started his sprint too early and faded to eleventh place.
After his win in San Remo the Katusha-rider raced Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday (13th) and took part in a lucrative Sprint Challenge in Harelbeke on Friday. Nevertheless the strong Norwegian survived the hill zone in Gent-Wevelgem and featured in the large group of eighty riders that headed into the final kilometre.
Kristoff was already riding near the front of the pack at 450 metres when several riders crashed behind him. Kristoff didn't have the kick he had in San Remo and started his sprint way too early. A lot of riders including eventual winner John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) passed him and Kristoff went on to finish eleventh.
"I tried but I failed. I came too fast, a little bit too early," Kristoff told Cyclingnews shortly after crossing the finish line in sunny Wevelgem, Belgium.
Also surprising was the appearance of team-mate Alexey Tsatevitch who suddenly popped up ahead of him in the final metres. Kristoff mainly pointed to his timing but also the lack of support in the final kilometre.
"Maybe it was timing but I thought I could hold it but I couldn't. At the end I was a little bit alone. Actually I had one team-mate in front of me but I don't know where he was," Kristoff said. Kristoff's team-mate Alexey Tsatevitch finished in seventh place, Kristoff eleventh.