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“I think I am as strong as last year. Not better, not worse, but my sprint got better. We worked on my sprinter's train. With Jacopo on the team many things changed. He was the perfect glue for our train."

Photo: Tim De Waele / Team Katusha

ALEXANDER KRISTOFF

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NEWS

CLASSIC BRUGGE-DE PANNE

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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02.04.2015 @ 20:04 Posted by Andy Pedersen

It was a week of success in Belgium for Team Katusha and Alexander Kristoff. After winning all three road stages, Kristoff took on the challenge of the individual time trial on Thursday afternoon and managed a third place finish to keep him on the top step of the podium for the general classification. Alexander, 27, is the first Norwegian to win 3 Days of De Panne.

 

“I was not able to win the time trial, but I felt that I did a very good time trial. I managed to push the entire way and I am happy. This is maybe my best time trial ever. I was a little bit behind (Stijn) Devolder halfway through but I think I did better in the second half on the corners and I took a little time back there. I was a little bit scared at the beginning but I managed to keep a good tempo for the ride. This is a big victory, especially since I have not been this good here in the past,” said Alexander Kristoff to the Katusha website.

 

After the early morning point-to-point road stage won by Aexander Kristoff, the afternoon gave way to stage 3 (b) in the individual time trial. As the race leader, Kristoff was the last from the start house on the 14,2 km course and knew the time he had to beat to retain the race lead. Kristoff not only maintained his GC lead but he also put up a remarkable performance in the time trial and took third place behind Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Stefan Küng (BMC).

 

“We saw big, big, big things this week from Alex and the team. It was amazing. Alex put on a great TT and really earned the GC. He has so much experience and knows exactly what he needs to do now,” said team director Torsten Schmidt.

 

For the classification, Kristoff held off Devolder and Wiggins by 23- and 42-seconds in the final, marking the 12th win of the season for Russian Team Katusha and ninth of the 2015 for Kristoff. He now looks to Sunday’s Ronde van Vlaanderen, where he hopes to carry his good form.

 

“I think I am as strong as last year. Not better, not worse, but my sprint got better. We worked on my sprinter's train. With Jacopo on the team many things changed. He was the perfect glue for our train. All seven teammates here were one nice group. I’ve done Flanders the last three years and I’ve ridden in Belgium a lot so I feel I know the climbs. It’s not easy to win the Tour of Flanders but I hope my good legs are still there on Sunday and we’ll see. I feel good. I am not unbeatable. Look at Sanremo. It can happen in Flanders too. On the other hand, in that race I was not yet at my best shape. Now I am,” concluded Alexander Kristoff.  

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