After the disappointment of the Tour de France which was bookended by a high-speed crash, Alexander Kristoff bounced back in style to win the RideLondon Classic. The Norwegian hadn't won in May 1 with the pressure building as to where he will ply his trade in 2018.
"It was great to win here. After the disappointment of the Tour it's really nice to bounce back and win in London," a relieved Kristoff said of his seventh win for the 2017 season.
The 30-year-old had the Katusha-Alpecin team at his disposal on the sprint friendly parcours and with Mads Würtz Schmidt in the early-breakaway, enjoyed a relaxed start to the race. As the break started to the splinter with the spring finale getting closer by the kilometres, Bora was the team to take up the chase. Working for its sprinter Sam Bennett, the German squad lead into the final kilometre, and Bennett was in pole position with 500 metres to race.
Explaining he is still feeling the effects of his stage 17 Tour crash, Kristoff was full of praise for his teammates who shepherd him through the day and dropped him off in the lead out for the win.
"I knew my body was healing after the crash and luckily I had enough strength in my legs today to win. It's been a long time without a big win for me and I was so frustrated in the Tour, but I knew my head was there; I just needed to get my legs back," said Kristoff of the win ahead of Magnus Cort and Michael Matthews.
"I was suffering on the climbs but my team did an amazing job to bring the break back at the end. That's what we needed to do to win but we've not been team racing so well recently."
The win was Kristoff's first on British soil and second one-day WorldTour race of the season after his Eschborn-Frankfurt success. Kristoff added that having seen the growth of the race from 2011, he is thrilled to have added his name to the honours list. Particularly in the first year of the race being held at WorldTour level.
"It's great to get it right here because this is a big race now, a WorldTour event and it's getting bigger," he said. "Now it will always be one I can say, when I'm talking on TV, 'That's a race I won.'"