Cycling
Alexander Kristoff goes through the grind indoors in Norway to keep himself ready for a resumption of the season. Image Credit: UAE Team Emirates

Dubai: Alexander Kristoff, one of UAE Team Emirates’ top riders, is raring to take off after the UCI’s announcement of a tentative cycling calendar.

A lot of races of the 2020 season have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic - the Tour de France is now scheduled to take place in September, the Giro in October and the La Vuelta in November. The actual 2020 season, however, is set to re-start with most of National Championships being held by August.

Norwegian Kristoff, who left Team Katusha after five seasons to join the UAE Team Emirates set-up, now can’t wait till he gets back into action for the remainder of 2020.

“My first big goal of the year was the cobblestone classics in Belgium. Before the lockdown I was getting in good shape. I was third in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on the opening weekend just a week or so before all racing stopped. It was disappointing that the races were cancelle, but not a surprise as the severity of the Covid-19 crisis was increasing fast at that stage and the best decision was to stop,” Kristoff told Gulf News in an exclusive interview.

“After the Belgian classics, the next big goal was the Giro d’Italia. I wasn’t going to ride the Tour de France this year for a change. Hopefully the races I was aiming for can be re-scheduled later in the year,” he hoped.

I wasn’t going to ride the Tour de France this year for a change. Hopefully, the races I was aiming for can be re-scheduled later in the year

- Alexander Kristoff

Kristoff’s main success early in his career was the Norwegian National Road Race Championships in 2007 and 2011. After that, the rider from Norway won a bronze medal in the road race at the 2012 London Olympics and followed this up with wins at the 2014 Milan-San Remo and the 2015 Tour of Flanders.

Kristoff further reaffirmed his status in 2014 while claiming two stage wins in the Tour de France, putting him as the runner-up behind Peter Sagan in the points classification.

Kristoff’s debut with the new UAE Team Emirates came during the 2018 Dubai Tour and his first major win was claiming the top spot in Stage 21 of the Tour de France on the famed Champs-Elysees in Paris. He celebrated his contract renewal till the end of 2021 with UAE Team Emirates with wins in the first three races of 2019. Kristoff won his native Tour of Norway and followed this with wins in the Gent-Wevelgem (Belgium) and Grand Prix of Aargau Canton (Switzerland).

However, with cancellation of all racing activity, Kristoff has been left indoors doing the normal things of family life. “At the moment I am spending a lot of time indoors minding the kids and doing home school, apart from my indoor training that is keeping me very busy,” Kristoff said.

“There are plans in place for a provisional calendar starting in August but like every sport at the moment, there is still some uncertainty as to when it will be safe to return to competition. The team is keeping us well informed and a lot of work is going on behind the scenes to make sure we are ready to get to work again when that time comes,” he added.