Alexander Kristoff finished in the top ten a number of times during his first year with BMC Racing Team, even finishing third two times in 2010. In the coming season, the young Norwegian is looking forward to even more, and hoping to move up with the squad, as it looks to attain ProTeam (formerly ProTour) status.
Kristoff rode for Continental-ranked Norwegian teams from 2006 to 2009 before signing with BMC. The sprinter's best results this year were third place finishes in the first stage of the Tour of California and in the Philadelphia International Championship.
In 2011 he will make his Grand Tour debut and in order to prepare for the Giro d'Italia, his spring schedule will be changed, with less emphasis on the Classics. Kristoff will start out at the Tour Down Under before taking on the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman. He will then return to Europe for Paris-Nice, Milan-San Remo , Gent-Wevelgem and the GP Scheldeprijs.
From there, Kristoff will ride one more stage race, the Giro di Trentino, before heading to the Italian Grand Tour on May 7.
There's a reason for all those early season races in the Middle East. “They were afraid that I would not be able to train properly in Norway. So they put me in all the early races,” he told ProCycling.no. , adding that he had been in poor form at the team's first meeting early this year partially because of the cold weather conditions in his homeland.
Looking at his racing calendar for 2011, he said, “Up until the Giro , it is pretty tight, but it's better than the program I had this season. At one time I had five weeks racing, a week at home and then six weeks on the road again. I wanted to run fewer races than last year.”
He is particularly looking forward to his debut at Milan-San Remo. “In the years to come, this is probably the Classic that fits me best. I know that Mark Cavendish has won there. When we rode together at the Tour of California, I was stronger than him on the climbs,” he said.
Kristoff had hoped to ride the Vuelta a España, but the team ruled him out of it. Captain Cadel Evans “wants to do well in Spain. He needs riders who can also help him in the mountains,” said the sprinter.
“In the Giro d'Italia, we don't have a rider for the overall, so I will have my chance at the sprint,” he said, while noting that the Giro won't be easy. “It is the hardest race I'm doing next year. The first half of the race is not so bad, but the last week there are only mountains. It'll be hard to get through the whole race, but I hope to do well in the beginning."