The BMC Racing Team is sending Norwegian rider Alexander Kristoff to the Tour Down Under in January 2011 as the squad's leader for bunch sprint finishes. Along with Kristoff, Tim Roe, Alessandro Ballan, Martin Kohler, John Murphy, Amaël Moinard and Simon Zahner will also compete in the first top-level event of next year's road cycling season, with further hopes lying on Ballan and Moinard.
The list of Kristoff's sprint rivals at the Tour Down Under is impressive, however. Mark Cavendish, Tyler Farrar, André Greipel, Allan Davis, Robbie McEwen, Francesco Chicchi and Michael Matthews are among the sprinters in the line-up but the 23-year-old sees no reason to fear his competition.
"It is of course difficult to win, but it is not impossible. They're just people," Kristoff told procycling.no. "I know however that there will be very tough competition in the sprints."
The Norwegian, who scored some good placings this year including a fourth place at the Vattenfall Cyclassics, hopes that increasing experience and age will pay off for him in the future. American rider Murphy will most likely act as Kristoff's lead-out man, while Ballan and Moinard will try to achieve something in breakaways.
"We are going to invest in the sprints, and I have been told that they will primarily ride for me. John Murphy is also a quick and powerful rider, so if I'm not in the mix he will probably get the chance," he added.
Kristoff will prepare for the Tour Down Under with a training camp in the Spanish island of Gran Canaria in January.