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Tour of Norway

A. Kristoff : “Our collective success is a great motivating factor”

For the first time since 2018, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will participate in the Tour of Norway (2.Pro, 24-29/05) from Tuesday to Sunday, with local rider and former winner Alexander Kristoff.

The eleventh edition starts in Bergen, where the Norwegian rider became vice world champion in 2017, one day after his current teammate Julius Johansen conquered the rainbow stripes in the junior category.

A lot of climbing has to be done in the first three stages, with an uphill finish on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively on Voss (2.7 km at 6.6%) and Stavsro (12.1 km at 76%). In contrary, the difficulty of the second stage is halfway through the course of 124 kilometer with an 28 kilometer climb to Dyranut (4.3%), a mountain hut at an altitude of 1240 meter.

The peloton will head to the south of the country for the second part of the race which is characterized by hilly courses and finals on local laps. On Friday, the longest stage of 233 kilometer towards Kristiansand contains a double passage on Gimlekollen (1.4km at 4.9%) in the final 15 kilometer. The next day in Sandness, a hill of 800 meter (10.4%) has to be covered three times and on the final day a triple ascension of Grisabakken (0,6 km à 6,6%) animates the last race hour in Stravanger, where Alexander Kristoff lives.

In addition to his overall victory in 2019, Alexander Kristoff also won eight stages in his five participations. Under the direction of Aike Visbeek, the former European champion receives the support of Laurens Huys, Julius Johansen, Adrien Petit and Simone Petilli.

« I'm looking forward to participate to my national tour for the sixth time. A 20 minute flight to Bergen, that was all it took to travel to the start of the race. Since my overall victory in 2019, the Tour of Norway heads more north to cover longer climbs. In this edition, they occur in the first three stages. Especially on the third day, which will be the most difficult I guess. In addition, the weather will make these stages even more challenging. Rain and cold is expected and it could even snow on the climbs. However, I hope to sprint at the end of the second stage. It is difficult to predict how the peloton will race on the 28 kilometer climb towards Dyranut. » « Actuelly, I can't wait for the weekend. The three final days suit me very well, the weather will probably be good and the finishes in Sandness and Stravanger are only 10 minutes away from home. The finals of these stages are pretty difficult, but I already showed with good results in both Kristiansand and Stravanger that a victory is within reach for me. My main rival will probably be Mads Pedersen, who defeated me in Jørpeland last year. However, my overall feeling is better than last season which is especially visible in flat races and sprints. Physically I feel a difference, but also in terms of material and I just feel good in this team. Our collective success is a great motivating factor. I enjoyed the victories of our other sprinters Biniam Girmay and Gerben Thijssen and I'm even more impressed by how Domenico Pozzovivo is performing in the Tour of Italy. »


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