Karsten Kroon makes a hopeful return to Saxo Bank-SunGard
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Friday, October 07, 2011

Karsten Kroon makes a hopeful return to Saxo Bank-SunGard

by Ben Atkins at 9:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Dutch Classics specialist hopes to recapture his glory years after two injury hit seasons with BMC Racing

karsten kroonAfter two years at the BMC Racing Team, Karsten Kroon is returning to Saxo Bank-SunGard until 2013. The 35-year-old Dutch Classics specialist spent four years riding for Bjarne Riis’ team, between 2006 and 2009, where he took the biggest results of his career.

"I have always enjoyed working with Karsten, and it's no secret that I wanted to keep him on the team two years ago,” said Riis. “So I'm happy he is returning, and I really believe we can bring him back to his full potential and the level he had, when he rode for the us some years ago.

"I'm sure Karsten will be an important rider for us in the spring, especially in the Ardennes races, which suit him perfectly,” he added. “And with both Nick Nuyens and Karsten onboard I think we have a strong outsider team for the classics,"

Unfortunately for Kroon, his two-year spell at BMC Racing has not been the luckiest period of his career. A multitude of serious crashes, often resulting in broken bones, have prevented him from repeating his Team CSC/Saxo Bank success. A nasty spill in last year’s Flèche Wallonne saw him needing surgery to fix facial fractures; this season he crashed in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, damaging a previously plated collarbone, then recently he fractured his forearm in the Vuelta a España, when he and Garmin-Cervélo’s Sep Vanmarcke crashed into a ravine.

"Some say that me being 35 years old and after these crashes, it would be better for me to stop,” said Kroon. “But I still have a lot of love for the sport and I still have plenty of energy to give the best of myself. I am convinced I will get back to my old level and be a key player in the big one day races."

While Kroon’s biggest ever victory, a stage of the Tour de France, came in 2002 when he was a Rabobank rider, he matured into an Classics spcialist in his years under Riis at CSC and Saxo Bank. In those years he finished second and third in Amstel Gold, third in Flèche Wallonne, fourth in the Ronde van Vlaanderen and fifth in the Giro di Lombardia.

"For me this is a return to the team where I had the greatest years of my career,” he said, “and I am really looking forward to the next years."

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