Kristoffer Skjerping: “My biggest career goal is to win Flanders”
He is just 21-years-old, but know what he wants. Ever since starting cycling, thanks to his older brother, Kristoffer Skjerping was determined to become better and better with each season and reach all of his goals. So, after racing for a Norwegian team at a Continental level, he started adding some solid results to his palmares, one of which was stage 1 of the Tour de l’Avenir, after being in the break all day long. Soon afterwards, he got his biggest result up-to-date, 3rd at the U23 World Championships in Ponferrada and that brought him a pro contract with Cannondale-Garmin, after three years with Team Joker.
One of the most promising neo-pro riders of the peloton, Kristoffer Skjerping is a cyclist whose future lies in the Classics, which have fascinated him for a long time now. This season, although a debutant, he will get the chance to do some of the best one-day races of the calendar, thus living one of his dream. For the moment, Kristoffer’s goal is to finish these races and gain experience, so that one day he can come back as one of the favorites.
– Kristoffer, you’re making your pro debut earlier than expected, at the Tour de San Luis.
Yes, that was a bit of a shock, but I’m happy to be here, and I’m really looking forward to start racing with Cannondale-Garmin.
– What do you think of Argentina so far?
The first thing that caught my attention was the heat. It’s not easy to go from –20 degrees to +35, but I’m a viking, so I will survive.
– With what expectations are you starting San Luis?
I hope I can do my job for the team and come through the race. If I get a result in a sprint one day, that will be a big bonus.
– What are your goals for this year?
I want to learn as much as possible and do everything that the team tells me to do. My biggest goals will come in the Classics, so to finish all of them is a big target for me. Everything I will do in the next weeks leads up to the Classics and that’s why I’m trying to be in the best shape of my life for those races. It goes without saying that in the future I want to win such a race.
– Are you thinking about a particular Classic?
My biggest goal in the future is to win the Tour of Flanders. The short steep climbs suit me well, and I have a good sprint in the end, which is really helpful.
– Is there anything you’d like to improve?
I want to be stronger mentally, especially in the sprints. Don’t think so much, just do it!
– You’ll be 24 by the time Bergen hosts the World Championships, in 2017. Do you think you could get a nice result there?
I think it comes too early for me to think of a win, but to get a good result is possible. The World Championships in Bergen is a big goal for me and I think a lot about it. The course actually goes 200 meters away from my house and I get goosebumps just thinking about it!
– How do you explain the cycling boom in Norway?
I think the main reason lies in the very good riders we had in the last few years. When I started cycling, Thor Hushovd and Kurt Asle Arvesen were the big cycling stars in Norway. After them, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Alexander Kristoff came from behind and are now amongst the best cyclists in the world.