Kristoff to confirm his 2018 team by end of Tour de France

Katusha-Alpecin rider needs luck as well as legs in Tour sprints

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha Alpecin) has confirmed that his long-term future will be settled before the end of the Tour de France, with several teams - including Katusha - still in the hunt for his signature.

The 29-year-old is competing for stage wins at the Tour, hoping to add to his two victories from 2014. While his form has been patchy in the biggest races this year, the Norwegian has still managed to win six times, picking up the majority of his squad's victories.

"I don't know my future yet," he told Cyclingnews in Dusseldorf.

"Some teams I have in my mind, and Katusha is one of them."

Kristoff was linked with Astana earlier in the year and, according to the former Tour of Flanders winner, the Kazakh team is still on his radar. Katusha have also tabled a contract extension, albeit on a reduced salary.

"Astana is one of the teams I’m considering still, for sure," he said. "I think during the Tour things will be clear. I'll talk with the teams again - not personally, but my manager - and I think during the Tour I'll know my future."

Legs and luck needed at the Tour

While Kristoff's agent moves between team buses in search of the best deal for his client, the rider is focused on the Tour. Having endured a difficult few months, the Norwegian believes that he's approaching something near his best form.

"I didn't finish the Dauphiné. I started sick and didn't get better so after the flat stages I went home. I wasn't really, really sick but I couldn't breathe that well and I was full of slime. I went home so I could train and I now I feel fine. In the nationals I felt strong but I had a teammate up the road so I couldn't really do that much but the feelings were good and I hope to carry them into the start of the Tour."

The opening half of the Tour is dominated by sprint stages but Kristoff will have his work cut with the best of the best gathering in Germany. In the biggest races this season Kristoff has been close on several occasions and he admitted that in order to win a stage at the Tour he would need both fast legs and good luck.

"I was fourth in Milan-San Remo and fifth in Flanders so I was good but I didn't get a victory. In the Classics I was hoping for more but a lot of guys were in the same position. Maybe the form was a little bit lacking or not quite as good as it was in 2015 but I won in Frankfurt and that was my last win. California and Dauphiné didn't go as I hoped but hopefully things improve in July.

"I think I can beat the others if have a smooth sprint and they run into a little bit of trouble. I'm sure that it's possible but then you have someone like [Arnaud] Démare in good shape and for sure there's going to be a lot of good sprinters and it's going to be chaotic. If you have a lucky entrance into the sprint, and maybe for example Kittel does something wrong, then for sure you have a chance."

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