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"I was maybe a little too optimistic when Cancellara attacked, maybe I should have saved a little more because I was already on the limit. I know I’m good when it’s a long race; maybe if it had been longer I could have done...

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ALEXANDER KRISTOFF

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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RONDE VAN VLAANDEREN

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VLADIMIR ISAICHEV

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07.04.2014 @ 11:29 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Alexander Kristoff again proved that he is an excellent contender in the longest races when he finished fifth in yesterday's Tour of Flanders. In fact, the Norwegian felt so strong that he ripped the peloton to pieces on the Kwaremont and in hindsight he regretted having played a bit too much with the muscles too early.

 

A valiant effort came from Alexander Kristoff in Sunday’s 259.8 km 98th Ronde van Vlaanderen, taking the race in hand to reach the leaders, falling just short by a handful of seconds and taking 5th place. 

 

“They were a little too strong for me on the Kwaremont so I tried to bridge up on the Paterberg alone and then I saw Niki Terpstra was coming so I waited for him," he said. "We worked fine together and were getting closer but not fast enough.

 

"I was maybe a little too optimistic when Cancellara attacked, maybe I should have saved a little more because I was already on the limit. I know I’m good when it’s a long race; maybe if it had been longer I could have done something more.

 

"Overall I’m happy with my performance but of course you want to be on the podium. I will try again next year. This gives me good confidence for Roubaix,” – said Alexander Kristoff.

 

Through the Kwaremont for the third time, Kristoff put forth a big effort to reach the Fabian Cancellara group, finally gaining some ground on the final climb of the Paterberg. But it was just a little too late for the Katusha Team rider and a group of four reached the line first. Coming into the finale, Fabian Cancellara out-foxed Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Sep Vanmarche (Belkin) to take his third win in the Tour of Flanders. 

 

“I’m super happy with the way the team performed," Sports director Torsten Schmidt said. "We asked them to show themselves today and they did that. Aliaksandr Kuchynski was 200 km in the break and showed a super strong race. Alexander Kristoff made a great race.

 

"In general, we reached our goals. In the end we thought that Alex might come back.  We told him the race is only over at the finish line and especially in Flanders you have to fight all the way. He did that.”

 

“In our team meeting Torsten told me and some other guys to go in a break of some 10 guys, so I did my job," Kuschynski said. "It was a long, hard day but it was good for Katusha. I left some energy in reserve in case the peloton would catch me.

 

"In the end the second Kwaremont was too much. I stayed in from of the Paterberg but after the descent, the headwind killed me. But anyway, I tried to do all team’s work I had to do. Now it’s time for recovery and on to Scheldeprijs and Roubaix.”

 

Kuchynski’s group held pace for over one-third of the day’s race, but eventually the short, steep climbs began to really bite and Cancellara’s chasing group brought them back near the 40 km mark, setting up a furious effort from the riders in the front to get away. Van Avermaet and Vandenbergh looked solid for a time, but the chasers eventually bridged across before a final selection was made with Cancellara’s group. 

 

Despite good weather and dry roads, it was a day full of crashes and bike mechanicals for many in the peloton. Katusha rider Vladimir Isaychev went down and was transported to the hospital. Medical checking said, that fortunately Vladimir Isaychev doesn’t have too serious injures - only a light concussion and chest contusion.

 

Alexander Kristoff’s fifth place result gives him third place in UCI points while teammate Joaquim Rodriguez sits in ninth. Katusha Team moved up to 2nd place in the UCI WorldTour team’s ranking.

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