Alexander Kristoff of BMC Racing Team has not yet beaten Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) in a sprint but the young Norwegian believes there's a first time for everything. And perhaps that first time will be at the Tour Down Under late this month.
“If it all works out, I can beat him,” he told Procycling.no. “Otherwise I should find something else to do.”
He knows that his best chance is if Cavendish is distracted. “If he thinks too much about Andre Greipel, for example, I can have a chance. They can mark each other and make a mistake. That would open opportunities for others.”
Cavendish and Greipel were teammates at HTC until this year. Greipel, who now rides for Omega Pharma-Lotto, has won the TDU twice with eight stage wins to boot. Their often verbal rivalry will now be acted out on the road, starting at the Cancer Council Classic criterium on Sunday January 16.
Kristoff, who is going into his second year at BMC, has been training in the Canary Islands and is on his way to Australia. He is good shape, he said, “better than last year at this time.”
His goal in Australia is “to take a top five position and get ProTour points. That is also what the team management expects of me.”
Despite his ambitions to beat Cavendish, he admited: “I am not the favourite. I am the underdog.”