Kristoff changes bike position and sticks with tubeless for Paris-Roubaix
Norwegian makes adjustments as he sets sights on a third Monument title
Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) has adopted a new bike position and new tyre technology as he looks to add a third Monument to his palmarès on Sunday at Paris-Roubaix.
Kristoff's best result at 'The Hell of the North' is a ninth-place finish in 2013, with a 10th-place finish two years later. Since 2013, Kristoff has won Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and not finished outside of the top 10 in the four world championship road races he has competed in, showcasing his ability in long and hard races of attrition.
For 2019, UAE Team Emirates brought in respected directeur sportif Allan Peiper, who prescribed Kristoff with extra cobbles-training in January. Alongside the new management and training, Kristoff has looked at his position on the bike as a potential detriment to his past Paris-Roubaix performances, shifting his weight further back in an attempt to keep the front wheel lighter as it hits the rough cobbles.
Speaking at the Carrefour de l'Arbre after a final recon ride, Kristoff described the positional change.
"I don't really know why, but I think my position on the bike is slightly more forward [than other riders'], so maybe you dig yourself into the cobbles a bit more," he said. "It doesn't affect you so much when you're going uphill and you're going slower than when it's full speed on the flat. But I've tried to adjust myself a little bit further back on the bike this year, and in the tests today and in January, it felt slightly better than before, so I hope it helps."
Aside from the positional changes for Paris-Roubaix, Kristoff drew attention in previous weeks by winning Gent-Wevelgem and finishing third at the Tour of Flanders using tubeless tyres.
Kristoff is sticking with the Vittoria Corsa Graphene 2.0 25mm tubeless tyres he has used in previous races, used in conjunction with Campagnolo Bora WTO tubeless-ready wheels, which were released last year and recently updated with a 45mm option.
"I've actually raced on tubeless all year, and have a good feeling on them. I also won Gent-Wevelgem and was third at Flanders on tubeless," Kristoff added.
"For me, they just feel better. I don't really know what the main difference is, but they roll well, and on the cobbles they don't feel bad at all – they feel comfortable. I did some tests this winter on tubulars, and I didn't feel any better, if I remember correctly.
“They're 25mm tyres, but they actually measure a little wider – around 26mm. But I'm keeping my tyre pressures a secret," he said.
Kristoff's biggest results this spring have come aboard the Colnago Concept aero frameset, and while the Norwegian's bike fit and tyre choice have been finalised, the team are still unsure about whether to stick with the Concept or go for the more compliant Colnago V2-R frameset.
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