Alexander Kristoff gears up for Tour de Suisse with GP du canton d’Argovie victory

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Alexander Kristoff secured top spot at the GP du canton d’Argovie in Switzerland as the UAE Team Emirates sprint sensation took his tally to four wins for the season.

The European champion, who joined the UAE team at the start of this season, showed just why they were so keen to obtain his services, as he unleashed a powerful surge to the finish to take the title.

Kristoff said: “This is my fourth win of the season, but normally I’d have more already at this point, so I put a lot of weight behind this race. For me and the entire team it’s important to show our jersey and promote cycling in the UAE – and there’s no better way to do that than to win.

“A big thanks to the team for controlling the race and taking me into the final kilometres in the best position for the sprint. I remembered this finish well, it was the same as the Tour de Suisse sprint finish in 2013.”

Kristoff will now gear up for the Tour de Suisse (June 9-17) alongside team mates Roberto Ferrari, Filippo Ganna, Diego Ulissi, Oliviero Troia, Jan Polanc and Ben Swift.

“The Tour de Suisse is next for me and I’m heading there motivated,” added the big Norwegian, 30.

“The race will be hard and with a high-level of competition, but the goal is to do well like I did in 2013 and 2015.”

The Tour de Suisse is seen as the last big challenge for riders ahead of this summer’s Tour De France, with a mixture of time trials, hilly stages and mountainous climbs.

With three weeks to go until the Tour, and an extra week to rest up, the Tour de Suisse will be vital for riders looking to test their condition and could see the peloton push the limits like never before.

Kristoff added: “In the past, when I’ve chosen to compete in the Tour de Suisse as an important prelude to the Tour de France, I’ve always gotten a lot out of it, so I’m excited at the prospect of riding in Switzerland.

“It could be a great chance to use the Swiss climbs to fine-tune my conditioning and try to make the most of any eventual opportunity to achieve a good result.”

Race Results:

  1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 4:18:24
  2. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni-Sidermec s.t.
  3. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo Fantini +0:01

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UAE Team Emirates' Daniel Martin pleased with second place on Stage 4 at Criterium du Dauphine

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Dan Martin finishes second on Stage 4

UAE Team Emirates rider Daniel Martin admits he is not in peak condition yet but is building towards being in form for the Tour de France after claiming a podium place on Stage 4 of the Criterium du Dauphine.

The Irishman almost stole the show on the first summit finish, putting in a sterling display on the climb at Lans-En-Vercors.

His efforts were rewarded with second place behind eventual winner Julian Alaphilippe, of Quick-Step Floors, in what was a thrilling finish, with Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas third.

Coming to the end of the 181km stage, Martin looked set to steal the victory with a perfectly timed attack, but Alaphilippe just about resisted and pipped the UAE Team Emirates rider to the line.

Commenting on the result, Martin said: “I feel good, I came into the race without expectations. Just race with a smile on my face, I knew I was in good condition.”

And with the 31-year-old looking to reach his best form for Le Tour next month, Martin is encouraged by his performance.

“I just don’t have that sprint yet, but it’s coming,” he added.

“I’m happy, it was a good day and the team did a good job. It’s great in the new team environment. I had good legs in training all year, but it hasn’t come together in races for some reason.

“It’s good to get that result, it’s a relief and it’s a positive sign for the next few days. I’m still waiting for the Tour de France, I’m not in top condition, but this is a good sign for July.”

The podium finish also pushes Martin up to 20th in the overall classification, 02:40 behind the new race leader, Gianni Moscon, of Team Sky.

Friday’s fifth stage, and the second of four consecutive summit finishes, ends at the popular ski resort of Valmorel. Martin and his rivals will face a 130km route featuring two climbs, both category two, in the first 20km and then the 12.7km summit finish which averages a seven per cent incline.

Stage 4 results:

  1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 4:26:45
  2. Daniel Martin (Ire) UAE Team Emirates s.t.
  3. Geraint Thomas (UK) Team Sky s.t.

General Classification standings:

  1. Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky 13:55:30
  2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky +0:06
  3. Geraint Thomas (UK) Team Sky +0:06
  4. Daniel Martin (Ire) UAE Team Emirates +2:40

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UAE Team Emirates' Dan Martin finishes 32nd on stage two of Criterium du Dauphine

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UAE Team Emirates rider Dan Martin had no luck on his side during stage two of the Criterium du Dauphine as he finished 32nd.

The 31-year-old, who finished third in the 2016 and 2017 editions of the race, is bidding for his third consecutive podium finish in France as he continues his preparations for next month’s Tour de France.

Daryl Impey of the Mitchelton team dominated the bunch sprint to win yesterday’s second stage of the eight-day race in France.

Sky’s Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski retains the yellow overall leader’s jersey after his victory in the prologue, a 6.6km time trial on Sunday.

Speaking after the stage finish in Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert, Martin said: “I managed to reach the arrival in the first group: the stage profile was not as demanding compared to previous years, however, two crashes in the final 15 km split the group.

“(Sven Erik) Bystrøm, (Valerio) Conti, (Edward) Ravasi and I succeeded in being with the front of the race. I was following Conti and I was very close to crashing, but I managed to avoid to being involved.

“I feel pretty good, I really hope to repeat the podium results of the past two years, when I was third.

He added: “The Dauphine is important also because it’s a mini-Tour de France, with an individual time trial, a team time trial – things that are hard to mimic in training – and because we race on some of the same roads that we are going to face in the 11th stage of the Tour.”

Best for UAE Team Emirates were: Valerio Conti (18th), Sven Erik Bystrøm (22nd), Edward Ravasi (38th), Rory Sutherland (118th), Simone Petilli (122nd) and Manuele Mori (143rd).

Today’s third stage will see the peloton tackle a 181km ride from Montbrison to Belleville.

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