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“Alexander is a relatively big rider and he struggled a bit in the heat. Furthermore, he arrived from abnormally cold conditions at the Tour des Fjords and Tour de Suisse. It was not quite optimal."

Photo_ Sirotti


14.12.2015 @ 07:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

This summer's Tour de France started with a fantastic festival in the Dutch city of Utrecht, but the riders also had to handle a tiring heatwave.


The experience was a wake-up call for Alexander Kristoff’s coach.


“Alexander is a relatively big rider and he struggled a bit in the heat. Furthermore, he arrived from abnormally cold conditions at the Tour des Fjords and Tour de Suisse. It was not quite optimal,” coach Stein Ørn tells

Kristoff and Ørn are searching for the optimal solution every season, especially in a season when the 28-year-old has a big chance to become world champion.


At Team Katusha, Ørn and Kristoff can plan the season completely as desired. However, they still had to make a small compromise for 2016, with the Giro d’Italia disappearing from the original plan.


Ørn had a strong desire to see Kristoff do two grand tours to further his development. However, it is not hard for him to find good reasons to do the Tour of Califoria instead.


“The Giro d'Italia starts relatively early (May 6, ed.) and that leaves just a short time to prepare after Paris-Roubaix. From a pretty cynical viewpoint, California is a very good alternative. The downside is the different time zones,” Ørn tells the Norwegian site.

The greatest sporting advantage is that the Norwegian will be joined by Jacopo Guarnieri, Marco Haller and Michael Mørkøv. It provides them with a chance to improve the lead-out for the Tour de France which the train was missing in this year’s race.

“If you are going to do the Giro d'Italia first and then get through the Tour de Suisse, you're going to abandon the Giro at the halfway point. It had perhaps been possible for Alexander, but you cannot take four riders out of the race. For his development, the Giro would have been good, but I do not think the new plan hampers that need greatly.”


Another factor is that Team Katusha will have more American supplier with wheels from Zipp, derailleurs from SRAM and crankset from Qarq. The trio is also involved as sponsors of the eight-day Tour of California and had a strong desire to see Kristoff in action at the 2016 edition.

The last decisive point is the temperature in California. Some computers showed 48 degrees during the 2013 edition of the race. Pieter Serry fell off his bike with a heatstroke 300 meters from the finish.


The same problem faced riders in Oman this year as they sought shelter from the heat under a bridge and refused to continue. Although the Worlds road race in Qatar will be held very late on October 16, the temperature will still be a problem as the average is 35 degrees at that time of the year.


“I'm going to do the Worlds team time trial to adapt to the heat. It takes place one week before the road race so maybe I need to find another place to stay in the time between those two races. It sounds boring to train there for two weeks,” Kristoff tells

The Norwegian Cycling Federation confirmed that they will look into options for recovery at the Championships.


“We have agreed that two weeks in Qatar is not optimal. You adapt to the heat but the head has cracked before you get to the start,” coach Stig Kristiansen tells the Norwegian site.


Before he will arrive Qatar in October, Kristoff will make use of the Arctic Race, Vattenfall Cyclassic in Hamburg, GP Plouay, Tour des Fjords and the Eneco Tour to prepare. The plan to defend his Flanders title is unchanged and he will also start his season in Qatar, this time without having to face teams like Sky and Etixx-QuickStep.


”I'm a little surprised. Qatar has proven to be a good preparation for the classics, and Etixx have done well there before,” he says.


However, he doesn’t think the race is important to prepare for the Worlds.


“I do not think you benefit that much,” he says. “The course is not very difficult and it is mostly within the city. Then you also avoid the crosswind issues. It will be the fight against the heat that is the biggest problem.”


Kristoff’s 2016 scheduke:

February 8-12: Tour of Qatar 
February 16-21: Tour of Oman 
February 27: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 
February 28: ​​Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne 
March 6-13: Paris-Nice 
March 19: Milan-Sanremo 
March 25: E3 Harelbeke 
March 27: Gent-Wevelgem 
March 29-31: Three Days of De Panne 
April 3: Tour of Flanders 
April 7: Scheldeprijs 
April 10: Paris-Roubaix 
May 1: Eschborn-Frankfurt City Loop
May 15-22: Tour of California 
June 11-19: The Tour de Suisse 
June 26: National Championships 
July 2-24: Tour de France 
August 10-14: Arctic Race 
August 31-September 4: Tour des Fjords 
September 19-25: Eneco Tour 
October 9: Worlds team time trial 
October 16: Worlds road race



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