Classics specialist leaves BMC
Karsten Kroon has signed a two-year contract with the Saxo Bank team. Currently wearing BMC team kit, the Dutchman will thus return to his former employer Bjarne Riis with whom he worked from 2006 to 2009.
"For me this is a return to the team where I had the greatest years of my career, and I am really looking forward to the next years," Kroon said on the Saxo Bank-SunGard website. The Classics specialist has suffered several bad crashes in the last two years, including facial injuries at the 2010 Flèche Wallonne and a collarbone fracture at this year's Tour of Flanders.
But the 35-year-old still has a few more years of performances ahead of him. "Some say that me being 35 years old and after these crashes, it would be better for me to stop. But I still have a lot of love for the sport and I still have plenty of energy to give the best of myself. I am convinced I will get back to my old level and be a key player in the big one day races," he added.
Saxo Bank team manager Riis shared this view. "I have always enjoyed working with Karsten, and it's no secret that I wanted to keep him on the team two years ago. So I'm happy he is returning, and I really believe we can bring him back to his full potential and the level he had, when he rode for the us some years ago," Riis declared.
"I'm sure Karsten will be an important rider for us in the spring, especially in the Ardennes races, which suit him perfectly. And with both Nick Nuyens and Karsten onboard I think we have a strong outsider team for the classics."
During his last stint with Riis, Kroon landed five top five results in the classics, amongst which a fourth place in the 2007 Tour of Flanders and a second in the 2009 Amstel Gold Race.