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Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank)
Current system benefits richer teams
Saxo Bank's Karsten Kroon has added weight to team boss Bjarne Riis's desire to see elements of the UCI WorldTour points system change. Last week Riis said that he disagreed with the UCI's rule that any points brought in by a rider returning from a doping-related suspension will not count for his team for two years. His team currently sits at the bottom of the WorldTour ranking after losing over two thirds of their points due to the suspension of Alberto Contador.
Kroon did not comment on the situation with Contador, but he did criticise the format of the points system, which he sees only helps the richest prosper. The team is currently last in the UCI's point list, in 18th place with 32 points. Seventeenth-ranked FDJ-Big Mat has 72 points, while leading team Omega Pharma-QuickStep has 547 points.
"Of course it's an issue within the team," Kroon said when asked about his teams WorldTour plight.
"We've not been doing very well this year and in the end if you look at the system, if you don't have a rider at a world class level at the moment, it's very hard to get some points to finish within the first 10 in these big races. And unfortunately at the moment there's nobody within the team that has that level. It's very hard for us to score more WorldTour points," he told Cyclingnews.
Kroon, 36, has raced through various UCI schemes, from the World Cup, to the ProTour and the latest evolution, the WorldTour.
"The whole situation with the WorldTour has changed the way of racing. I think a lot of riders would rather go for a third or fourth than try to go for the win. For me, personally, the win is more important, but of course I get paid by the team and for the team, the WorldTour points are more important.
When asked if Saxo Bank riders had been told to race for points rather than wins, Kroon said, "Not exactly in those words, but we all feel it's important to score some points."
"You can argue if the system is right or not. I think the situation now with the points system reflects the whole mentality that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. There are a few guys who can score a sh*t load of points, then there's the domestiques who work for those guys and they get no points and are expendable. To be honest I'm not a huge fan of the system."