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"I hope I can keep this winning streak going but Roubaix is a different race and I’ve struggled there before. I don’t see myself as the biggest favorite as I haven’t performed there so well in the past."

Photo: Sirotti

ALEXANDER KRISTOFF

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SCHELDEPRIJS VLAANDEREN

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08.04.2015 @ 21:06 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

It was another sprint finish with a rider that is looking very familiar at the top of the podium. On Wednesday Team Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff took the victory in the oldest Flemish race, the 103rd Scheldeprijs. The win marked the 11th of the season for the Norwegian rider and the fifteenth for the team at the time. A win by teammate Joaquim Rodriguez in Tour of the Basque Country some 30-minutes later brought the team tally up to sixteen.

 

"It’s unbelievable how the team is going right now. They worked so hard for me today to bring it back for a sprint. The break were really strong and they kept the distance well until the end. The last 500 meters I was in perfect position near the front. I could start when I wanted. We’d used a lot of energy in the last 2 km to come to this position, but at the end I saw nobody could come around me so that was good," said winner Alexander Kristoff.

 

Joining him on the podium were Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise) and Yauheni Hutarovich (Bretagne-Séché Environnement). At 200 km, the race began in Antwerp and ended in Schoten.

 

As everyone prepared for the sprint, a massive crash occurred just behind the front group, bringing many riders crashing to the ground. Kristoff could hear the crash unfolding.

 

"We had just moved up before the crash so it was behind me but I could hear it very well. It turns a little bit there so it’s always a little dangerous there. But this is cycling so it’s always dangerous and crashes can happen," said Alexander Kristoff.

 

A breakaway of seven riders were active throughout the stage, still holding more than one minutes as they came through the finish line with two laps to go. Team Katusha worked all day to keep Alex in contention and once the break was neutralized, they moved him into position for the sprint. Mindful of the riders around him, Kristoff was patient in the sprint and dictated the time to strike, clearing the finish line by almost a bike length.

 

Alexander Kristoff earned a special award for today’s win, an 18k gold bicycle trophy with 714 diamonds on the wheels, valued at 20k euros.

" This is a very nice trophy with diamonds and gold. It will look very nice with my others and I will make a special place for it," said Kristoff.

 

Up next for Kristoff is Sunday’s Paris – Roubaix and many look to Kristoff as a pre-race favorite to take the win.

 

"I hope I can keep this winning streak going but Roubaix is a different race and I’ve struggled there before. I don’t see myself as the biggest favorite as I haven’t performed there so well in the past but we’ll try. I have never been in the first group at Paris – Roubaix so first I must be there before I can have a chance to win. I always struggle more in the flat cobbles but this year I have very good shape so I hope I can be there until the final where I promise I would be dangerous. I am one of the contenders but there are many. It’s one of the most beautiful races. It’s so hard and you must play the cards right as well as avoid punctures at the wrong time. I hope I can win it someday. I am in good shape and Paris – Roubaix is the last race in this period, so I can give it my all and then rest afterwards," said Alexander Kristoff.

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