Katusha sprinter is more excited to see what rival Marcel Kittel will do next year, than Mark Cavendish as both join new teams

Alexander Kristoff says he knows what to expect of Mark Cavendish next year at his new team Dimension Data, as the Manxman is using the same lead-out riders from his days at HTC.

The Katusha rider told Cycling Weekly at the team’s training camp in Calpe, that as Cavendish has reunited with his old team-mates Mark Renshaw and Bernie Eisel at Dimension Data for 2016, he knows what their strengths are.

Kristoff is more excited, however, to see what Marcel Kittel will do as his lead-out since he joined Cavendish’s old squad Etixx-Quick Step, will be completely new.

“It will be exciting with Kittel because he has new team-mates. Cav he has more or less the same team-mates as before so he will not be that exciting,” said the 28-year old, who won two Tour de France stages in 2014 and has two Monuments to his name in Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders.

Watch: Tour de France 2016 essential guide

“We know what they [Cavendish and his team-mates] can do, what their strengths are and not, but we shall see.”

Cavendish rode with Renshaw and Eisel at HTC-Highroad from 2009 to 2011, becoming one of the most formidable sprint trains in the peloton. Eisel joined Cavendish at Sky in 2012, while Renshaw rode with Cavendish at Etixx since 2014.

“For sure they are good, in HTC [Highroad] they were winning a lot, but now they are older maybe, hopefully a little slower,” said Kristoff. “You don’t get stronger when you get older; you maybe get smarter, but less powerful.

“I don’t think necessarily they are better than the HTC days, but they are still the same guys and they know what to do.”

However, Kristoff doesn’t know how Marcel Kittel, who spent most of last year out with illness, will fare with his new-look lead-out.

“He has a strong group so it will be nice, or maybe scary, to see, if they are working really good together.”

  • Torske

    Maybe! And Kristoff is a very intelligent rider, so… who knows? But I’m sure we’ll see a lot of Kristoff winnings next year. One thing is for sure: This year was Kristoff and Greipel’s year!

  • J1

    Yeah….he should probably be thinking more about Greipel, you know the in-form sprinter from last year. Why is he going on about age? Greipel’s older than Cav and is still rapid. Mind games?

  • You may be right, re Patrick, but lefevere’s had some big talent in his team, over the years, and maybe Cav needed too much fluff, rather than gruff!

  • In the context of his years results, didn’t reflect his salary, hence, Patrick, making comments, for most of the year. Early on, Lefevere, was saying in media, that Cav was regularly, failing to hit expectations, especially so, last season (regularly being walloped by Kittel) and when contract time came, Lefevere, had no reason to offer the big money, as Cav, wasn’t racing at same level. Brutal to fans, but it’s business – so let’s see how Kittel goes & Cav, with a new team, with older legs.

  • Rupert the Super Bear

    The team won 54 races last year – 14 of these victories were Cav’s! Lefevere is a forthright pushy DS but he doesn’t always get things right. It’s my belief that he never really knew how to handle Cav. Cav wanted to stay but the money was reduced.

    His victory in this year’s KBK – as pictured above – was a stunning sprint win against some of the toughest competition out there. Lefevere told Cav the race was too long and too hard for him. Which only made him more determined to win.

    If Cav were to retire tomorrow, he’d still go down as one of the
    greatest sprinters the sport has ever seen. Some folks don’t like Cav
    because he’s a cheeky working class lad – that’s just snobbery in my
    book – I say he’s a great little guy and a great champion.

  • Harri

    cav’s poor results? he has still won loads of things this year.

  • I raised the same question, quite a few times, yet no reporter, particularly “jumped on it” – agree, it’ll be interesting to see what exactly occurred – either his head fell off – strange when he had such a run of form and speed – or his unknown virus, deleted his motivation also.

  • Why?
    Because he let Cavendish leave, or was particularly vocal about Cav’s poor results?

  • Rupert the Super Bear

    I’m secretly hoping Lefevere gets his fingers burnt.

  • blemcooper

    Hm…no thoughts from Kristoff about how he’ll be doing without Luca Paolini working for him?

  • MrHaematocrit

    I’m hoping to see if Kittel just turns up to races this year. Hopefully he has fixed his UV blood irradiation machine.

    I find it really strange that with all the doctors in cycling very little is really known about what illness kept Kittel out for most of the season. He had a virus in spring but the team said he got over that.