Alexander Kristoff reflects on first race of the season with Katusha
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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Alexander Kristoff reflects on first race of the season with Katusha

by Xylon van Eyck at 6:46 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Qatar
Norwegian says partnership with Galimzyanov is growing

Alexander KristoffAlexander Kristoff has had a solid debut with his new Katusha team at the Tour of Qatar. The former BMC Racing Team man was brought onto the Russian squad this year to support Denis Galimzyanov in the sprints while also having the opportunity to sprint for himself.

The two men have been learning to work together and were nearly rewarded with a victory during yesterday’s final stage in Qatar. Galimzyanov eventually finished second as he battled to get onto the wheel of a flying Arnaud Demare (FDJ-BigMat), who captured the stage.

“I was actually the leadout for Galimzyanov and was well placed, but he passed me in the last roundabout,” Kristoff told “I shouted at him to get on my wheel, but he did not hear.”

The Norwegian said that the sprint that saw Mark Cavendish (Sky Procycling) crash in the final kilometre was very chaotic, but emphasised that cohesiveness between he and the young Galimzyanov was already improving.

“It's worked pretty well. We are not completely converged yet but it is not easy to do everything according to plan. You have to have such a strong team that we can stay in the front.”

In a similar program to previous year’s, Kristoff will now head to the Tour of Oman. Encouraginly, he feels in many ways that he is already stronger than before.

“I actually felt better every day down here than I have in the past,” the 24 year old said. “In the last sprint I felt strong, so I'm probably in better shape than before.”

The majority of the team will now head to Oman, minus Gatis Smukulis who broke his left scaphoid bone during stage five. Galimzyanov said yesterday at the finish line that he’ll be searching for his first victory of the season in the Tour of Oman. The race runs from February 14th to 19th.


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