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Kristoff eyes opportunities and builds towards Classics at Tour of Oman

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Alexander Kristoff on the podium after winning stage 2 at Etoile de Besseges

Alexander Kristoff on the podium after winning stage 2 at Etoile de Besseges
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Alexander Kristoff on the podium after winning stage 2 at Etoile de Besseges

Alexander Kristoff on the podium after winning stage 2 at Etoile de Besseges
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Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) wins stage 2

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) wins stage 2
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Alexander Kristoff works up a sweat

Alexander Kristoff works up a sweat
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alexander Kristoff is looking forward to the 2017 season

Alexander Kristoff is looking forward to the 2017 season
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

This time 12 months ago, it seemed as though Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) had forgotten how to lose. After picking up a hat-trick of stage wins at the Tour of Qatar, he then tacked on two more at the Tour of Oman and, as he emerged from the Gulf races, he seemed poised for a repeat of his stunning spring of 2015.

A Classic man's campaign is judged squarely on how he fares on those ardent weekends of late March and early April, however, and Kristoff's early blaze of success was relegated to a mere footnote after he fell short at Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. The bout of illness that ruled him out of Gent-Wevelgem limited his effectiveness thereafter.

"I think we have more power in the team around me. We miss Jacopo [Guarnieri] for the lead-out, he's gone to FDJ, but we have more guys who can control the race and make sure we get to the sprint," Kristoff said. "In the end, we are not weaker for the sprints. We have more power in the team for controlling races. I'm optimistic."