KatushaTeam.Com spoke with Norwegian team rider Alexander Kristoff at his home in Stavanger, Norway. Kristoff had just returned from London, where he took the Bronze Medal at the 2012 Olympic Games Elite Mens Road Race on July 28th.
KatushaTeam.Com: Alexander has it sunk in yet that you won a Olympic medal?
Alexander Kristoff: Yes I know it is something very special for me. It is an important performance for me and I am really, really happy with this. You don’t often have a chance for an Olympic medal as it only happens every four years. You only get a few chances at this and I could make the most of it. I have had a lot of media attention here inNorwayso far, with many interviews and the people in Norway are happy for my medal. So that is all very nice.
KTC: How about your family? What did they say?
AK: My stepfather, who is a doctor with the Norwegian Olympic team and my coach was there inLondonand so was my father, who got me into cycling. He was standing right in front of me when I was on the podium. So it was a great moment. My 8 month old son does not understand yet, but he likes to play with my Bronze Medal.
KTC: How did you prepare for the Olympic Games?
AK: After the Giro d’Italia, I took some time off and made my build-up for national championships inNorway, then I did the Tour of Poland. I did not feel so good inPoland, but then got better and better every day. Then we did some good training inBelgiumwith the Norwegian Olympic cycling team and I was ready. My form is really good now.
KTC: At first, your role on the Norwegian team was as a support rider?
AK: Yes I was supposed to go in the early break and support our team leader in the final.
That worked out differently, because our leader did not come across. So I could go for
my own chances in the final which was very lucky for me.
KTC: Alexander, what were you thinking when you were in the front selection at the
Olympic Games Road Race with 40km to go?
AK: It was very difficult to stay in the front group on the final circuits of Box Hill. I came off on the net to last lap, but managed to get back on when some riders came up from the field.
Then I was just really focused on the sprint. I had a Norwegian teammate to try and keep it together and I did not follow any moves. I was just gambling that it would come down to a sprint.
Spain had 3 guys,Belgium had 2,Switzerland was really strong until Cancellara crashed. The same, Alexander Kolobnev and Luca Paolini from our Katusha Team pushed hard too. But in the end, when Vinokourov and Uran went away, everybody was so tired they did not try to catch them. I was only focussed on winning the sprint.
KTC: The Olympic Games Road Race looked like a really hard race.
AK: Yes it was! I was in the break all day and suffering a lot because the break I got in had a lot of really strong riders, like my Katusha teammates Denis Menchov and Luca Paolini, who keep a fantastic pace of the group. My heart rate was really high all day!
KTC: So after your Olympic success, what is your goal for the rest of 2012 season?
AK: I will ride a few criteriums here inNorway, then do the Eneco Tour. I only have one win this season at the 3 Days of DePanne so I want to win a few more races. This is important both, for me and for my Katusha Team. At the end of August, one of my major goals is the Vattenfall Classic in Hamburg, Germany on August 21st. That is a good race for a sprinter like me and I hope to do well there again.
KTC: How is your situation at Katusha Team?
AK: I am really happy to become a part of Katusha Team in the beginning of 2012 and I am happy with the situation at Katusha Team. The team gives me good chances, support me and it has worked out. Our General Manager Hans Holczer called me to congratulate me on my Olympic medal and after the road race, all of my Katusha teammates came up to me to congratulate me too. We have really nice relationships inside the team. I have a contract through 2013 and hope to continue to have good results at Katusha Team.