Cyclist Alexander Kristoff brings first medal to Norway

Cyclist Alexander Kristoff pulled off a surprise performance at the men’s Olympic Road Race last week.

The exceptional race by the 25-year-old Norwegian opened the door for the first of several Norwegian medals in the London 2012 games. Crossing the finish line with a time of 5:46:05, Kristoff took the Bronze in the high-profile event, behind Alexandre Vinokourov of Kazakhstan and Rigoberto Uran of Columbia and just ahead of US team member Taylor Phinney.

Kristoff’s stepfather and training coach Stein Ørn told the Aftenposten newspaper, “This is the result of an extremely long-term plan.”

Likewise, Gino van Oudenhove of Kristoff’s former cycling team Joker Merida said, “Alex has always been a fighter who has set clear goals. He has always been very tough on himself, both in races and in training.”

Mr Kristoff has since said that he was not expecting to win heading into the Olympics but that he is extremely proud of the achievement. The medallist also said that he is still undecided about whether or not he’ll be racing in the World Championships later this year in The Netherlands.

The win came in the absence of team figurehead Thor Hushovd, who announced just before the opening ceremony that he would be sitting out the Olympic race due to health issues. Kristoff’s favoured teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen was placed in the race alongside favourites including Mark Cavendish of Great Britain.

Since Kristoff’s performance, Norwegian fencer Bartosz Piasecki has won Silver in the men’s individual épée event. Piasecki’s silver medal at the Olympics is Norway’s best achievement in this discipline in history.