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"I’ve had a look at the course. One stage seems pretty hard. My ambitions will depend on how difficult the climbs are really, on the race situation and on how I will have recovered from the Tour."

Photo_ Sirotti

ALEXANDER KRISTOFF

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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05.08.2015 @ 14:08 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Alexander Kristoff is one of the main figures of the 2015 cycling season. Before the Tour de France where he finished third in stages 15 and 21 (on the Champs-Elysées), he was the most successful professional cyclist of the year with 18 victories and he’s very likely to still lead that ranking when he’ll set his sights on his next big goal: the third edition of the Arctic Race of Norway (August 13-16). The winner of the Tour of Flanders this year has definitely taken on the heritage from recently retired Norwegian cycling legend and ARN ambassador Thor Hushovd in the heart of the Norwegian cycling lovers.

 

“The Arctic Race of Norway is very important for me because it’s one of the three international stage races in Norway and it happens soon after the Tour de France so the impact is phenomenal”, said the sprinter from Stavanger who realized how big his new popularity was on home soil after winning two stages at the Tour de France last year. Winner of stage 2 in Alta, he tormented Hushovd as he deprived him of the victory in the last 200 metres of the final stage in Tromsø. Second overall, only four seconds down on Steven Kruijswijk, Kristoff also realized at the 2014 Arctic Race of Norway that he is able to win some general classifications as well.  

 

“I was very disappointed to miss the first edition”, he recalled. On August 7, 2013, instead of flying to Bodø, he was feeling depressed at hospital as he was diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia in his right lung. “Last year I realized how fantastic the Arctic Race of Norway is”, he noted. “The level is very good. People from the north of Norway are really friendly. They take us in their arms. They are so happy and honored that we come and race in their area.”

 

“My daily life in Norway hasn’t changed much since I won Milan-San Remo and Tour de France stages last year, the Tour of Flanders this year”, he continued. “Sometimes people stop me for a selfie but seldom when I’m with my normal clothes. At the races, it’s different. I feel like a pop star. But I’m not bothered. Cycling is becoming very important in Norwegian sport and for Norwegian tourism as well. The pictures of the Arctic Race of Norway are great. It’s the best way to attract people to our country.”

 

“I’m looking forward to doing this race again. I’ll rest for one week after the Tour. I’ve had a look at the course. One stage seems pretty hard. My ambitions will depend on how difficult the climbs are really, on the race situation and on how I will have recovered from the Tour. Last year I did well in the queen stage to Kvænangsfjellet. I’ll take it day by day. My goal will be to win a stage. If more, it’ll be a bonus.”

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