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Kristoff & Bystrøm reinforce Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert in 2022

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux is pleased to welcome Norwegian riders Alexander Kristoff, winner of 79 professional races, and Sven Erik Bystrøm, former U23 World Champion, in the team in January. The experienced duo from Stravanger is currently racing for UAE Team Emirates before reinforcing the Belgian team in 2022 for the classics and the sprints. 

Among the 79 professional victories of Alexander Kristoff there are two monuments, Milano-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders, a European title and four Tour de France stage wins. This latest stage win in Nice also offered him the yellow jersey. The long career of the 34 year old not only brought him victories in classics like Ghent-Wevelgem or Frankfurt, but also in stage races like the Tour of Norway or the 3 Days of De Panne. The former sprinter from Team BMC and Team Katusha will ride for a Belgian team for the first time in his career and he’s as motivated as ever to shine in the classics. There are two races on his bucket list which still make his eyes sparkle: Paris-Roubaix and the World Championships. 

Like his neighbor Kristoff, Sven Erik Bystrøm will focus on the classics. This spring, the former U23 World Champion from Ponferrada finished 13th in Ghent-Wevelgem. A couple of months earlier, the 29 year old took 11th in the crosswind edition of Bruges-De Panne. The tall Norwegian also has an offensive spirit. He showed this by battling for a stage victory in the Vuelta a Espana in 2018 or by joining several breakaways earlier this season. Last year’s Norwegian champion fractured a vertebrae when defending his title in June. This Thursday, he is returning to competition at the Arctic Race of Norway with the national team, together with Alexander Kristoff. Bystrøm signed a two year deal with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux.

This winter will feel like my first day at school. Meeting new teammates, new staff, trying new equipment, … is very exciting and renews my enthusiasm. I’ve always been loyal to my teams, but I felt that I was ready for a new challenge. The Belgian team really seduced me! I’ll be part of a team in which the classics are a priority for the first time. It gives me a lot of confidence to know that, just like me, my future teammates have the classics close to their heart. Also, I was pretty surprised by the forward-oriented approach, especially in terms of equipment. I’m looking forward to contribute to the development of the material from our technical partners. Testing and optimizing equipment is an aspect of cycling I love! I also can’t wait to ride my first kilometers on my CUBE Litening C:68X bike! This winter, my new machine will add a new dimension to my motivation. This new energy is welcome, because this season didn’t really go as expected. For example, the Covid restrictions reduced my possibilities to go on training camps, or on top of a mediocre form at the start of the season I also got sick during the classics. I feel that things are turning around for me now and I hope to show it at the end of this season. I want to win back my position among the best riders in the world and to perform at the classics like before. I’ve always felt good in my teams, so I’m looking forward to a nice future with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux!

I’m very motivated to make the jersey of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux shine! The most important factor for my transfer is the opportunity to realize my own ambitions. I appreciate the cobble classics and I’m dreaming of winning a Grand Tour stage. This is exactly what the Belgian team desires to achieve with me, so all pieces fit. I’ve been following the team’s progression from the sideline, especially with Odd Eiking, and during the meetings with the team it became pretty clear that we were on the same page. Their big confidence in my abilities convinced me entirely! I hope to realize this step forward. It’s an honor to race for a Belgian team, where cycling is so popular, and where riders, staff, management and sponsors radiate with passion! 

It’s not easy to find a great leader for the classics and sprints, because they are really coveted. So it’s a pleasure to welcome Alexander Kristoff in our structure! I appreciate his image, his combative spirit to reach the top. Alexander is one of the greatest riders in the world and will be an important asset for the classics. They are of great importance for a Belgian team and it’s exactly this environment what he was looking for. I am very pleased to see how extremely motivated he is to join us and to win races with our support. We’ve been talking a lot, particularly about his programme and the equipment. I’m convinced that his experience and his notoriety will raise the level of our young riders as well.Sven Erik Bystrøm, his friend, also has a nice palmares. His allround capability seduced us. He has a good level in the mountains, he’s pretty fast and he can perform at the classics. Among our 270 race days per year, there are at least 200 days which suit him, as a leader or as a helper. We will offer him a responsibility in the races he likes. In our structure, the former U23 World Champion will receive opportunities he didn’t always get in the big teams. I’m convinced that this 29 year old rider will achieve success in our colors! 

Welcoming Sven Erik Bystrøm and Alexander Kristoff is synonym with a new phase in the development of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. That riders of this level with an extended palmares are showing interest in our structure means that we continue our progression. When speaking to Alexander, it was clear that he was pretty well informed about our equipment and the progression we’re making in terms of performance. The Norwegian rider was also impressed about our collective performances at the classics. Alexander was searching for a structure which can support him with a good team, programme and equipment, especially for the classics. It became clear soon that we were able to fulfill each other’s wishes, because the ambition he was radiating immediately gave us the feeling that we found the leader we were looking for. The former winner of the Tour of Flanders and Milano-San Remo is a great leader with a lot of personality and a big hunger to win races. Our respective ambitions match and we’re very happy to start working with this champion next winter. We had a strong interest in his compatriote Sven Erik, regardless of Alexander Kristoff. The former U23 World Champion has a nice list of places of honor, but apart from his national title he’s still missing a big victory. He shows himself often, he’s capable of playing a role in all World Tour races and he has a big ambition to obtain results. In our team he’ll get the opportunity to realize his goals. His capabilities and his age constitute the type of rider we need. He’s a World Tour rider with a big engine and many possibilities. He wants to prove himself and we want to support him to achieve big results. We’re expecting a lot from this duo and we’ve got many plans with them! 


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