There’s no time like the present and just one day after taking his victory in Scheldeprijs, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) was back on the bike as he reconnoitred the Paris-Roubaix route with his teammates. After a stunning run of form that’s seen him win some six races in less than two weeks, he’s feeling the hurt but he is confident that he will be ready for Sunday.
“It’s one day since the race. You are not perfect after one day but there is still two more days to go so I for sure will be better on Sunday,” Kristoff said after the recon. “In this training I was always quite tired and maybe this year I was a little bit better than other years. I didn’t feel really good but I remember from the last years that I felt really horrible. This year, I think, was better.”
This Sunday will be the sixth time that Kristoff has ridden Roubaix - his ‘least favourite’ of the first three Monuments of the year. It’s a race that has been on his calendar every year since he turned professional, however, it is the first time that he has gone in with the favourite tag. It’s a position that he has tried to play down following his previous performances. His best result came two years ago when he finished ninth place, 50 seconds behind the winner on the day Fabian Cancellara. It is the only time that Kristoff has ventured anywhere near the top 10 at the French Classic, notching up three DNFs and a 57th place in 2012.
“If you see my results here I was never really in the front. I was ninth here one year and that was the best. I must make a step up so hopefully it’s enough for this race,” he said. “It’s a big race and it’s a Monument, so of course I am motivated. I think that everybody will be motivated for this race. It’s a legendary race and of course they want to win it.”
Nevertheless, Kristoff has been on sparkling form of late and none of his rivals are writing him off on his past performances. There would be little surprise if the Norwegian was standing on the top step of the podium in the centre of the Roubaix velodrome on Sunday evening. Kristoff will be the watched man that is for sure but he’s got his eyes on a few riders himself.
“There are many guys. Of course Etixx will be strong and (Niki) Terpstra won here last year, (Zdenek) Stybar is really good on this type of surface. I think Sky will be really strong also and there are other guys that are always there like Sep Vanmarcke, (Greg) Van Avermaet and (John) Degenkolb, there are many guys who can win this race,” he explained.
Paris-Roubaix will be the last race for Kristoff this spring as he looks to hang up his bike for a week and enjoy some time off with his family. If he were to win on Sunday he would be just the 11th rider to do the Flanders-Roubaix double.
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