Streak for Alexander Kristoff

First to win Three Days of De Panne, Tour of Flanders, and Scheldeprijs in a single season

Photo: Jarle Vines / Wikimedia Commons  Alexander Kristoff at the Tour de Fjords in 2014.

Photo: Jarle Vines / Wikimedia Commons
Alexander Kristoff at the Tour de Fjords in 2014.

Molly Jones
Norwegian American Weekly

Norwegian road cyclist Alexander Kristoff is off to an incredible start this season with 11 victories, a winning streak, and a new title as the first ever to win Three Days of De Panne, Tour of Flanders, and Scheldeprijs in a single year.

His streak began with the Three Days of De Panne, a three-day race in Belgium. Kristoff’s three stage victories and a third-place finish in the time trial earned him the victory as well as the points classification. Second place went to Stijn Devolder and third to Bradley Wiggins, both of Belgium. This year’s race took place from March 31 to April 2, leading right up to the prestigious Tour of Flanders.

Considered one of the biggest races in the world, the Tour of Flanders is the second of the season’s Five Monuments of Cycling. Kristoff became the first Norwegian to ever win the Tour of Flanders, held in Belgium on Easter Sunday, April 5.

The monument race ended in an exciting 30 kilometer sprint finish between Kristoff and Niki Terpstra of the Netherlands. Demonstrating his strength as a sprinter, Kristoff beat Terpstra to the finish line with Belgian Greg Van Avermaet following in third.

“It has been one of the season’s big goals, and it is a fantastic feeling. That I managed to achieve it so well almost exceeds all expectations,” said Kristoff after his Flanders victory.

“It is maybe the biggest victory in my entire career,” he continues, noting that this win is proof that he can excel in the classics as well as sprinting.

NRK’s cycling expert and former cycling professional Dag Erik Pedersen agrees that Kristoff’s career reached a new level at Flanders. “Kristoff is the best cyclist in the world right now. Not only because he won the race, but even more because of the way he did it,” said Pedersen.

Is the Norwegian really the world’s best cyclist? It’s hard to say, but Kristoff’s continued success certainly supports Pedersen’s claim. Just three days after Tour of Flanders, Kristoff secured his 11th victory of the season at Scheldeprijs on April 8.

Kristoff was one of the few cyclists who made it past the dramatic mass crash, just one kilometer from the finish line. With an impressive 150-meter sprint finish, Kristoff won the race ahead of Belgian Edward Theuns and Belarusian Yauheni Hutarovich.

It’s only April, but 2015 is looking to be the best season for the Norwegian, who races for the Russian team Katusha. Prior to Three Days of De Panne, Kristoff had already claimed three stage victories and the sprint jersey at the Tour of Qatar, a stage victory at the Tour of Oman, and a sprint victory in stage one of Paris–Nice. The two-time Norwegian National Champion and bronze-medal Olympian is now being compared to Thor Hushovd, widely accepted as Norway’s greatest cyclist ever.

“Now I have won two ‘monuments’ so I’m getting closer, but he delivered for many years,” comments Kristoff of these comparisons to Hushovd. “If I keep putting results forward, maybe I will get closer.”

This article originally appeared in the April 17, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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