Alexander Kristoff is yelling at the heat

[indeterminate roaring noises]

by Iain Treloar

photography by Getty Images

It’s very bloody hot in Carcassonne at the moment, because A) it is the middle of summer, B) there is a climate crisis, and C) it is the landlocked south of France. All of these factors conspired to create a diabolical day for the peloton on stage 15 of the Tour de France. 

Some riders are better cut out for such conditions than others. Jasper Philipsen seems to have enjoyed it just fine. Michael Mørkøv had a horrible day, to the point of being a full 30 km (!!!) behind the front of the race and missing the time cut. 

On that spectrum, Alexander Kristoff’s Sunday Lunch Ride was closer to Mørkøv – if not in elapsed time, then at least in spirit. 

Kristoff, a sturdy and steadfast local of Stavanger – hence his internationally recognised nickname of ‘The Stavanger Stallion’ – has traditionally thrived in cooler conditions, such as the Belgian classics. Within this particular context – which is, as aforementioned, the Very Bloody Hot roads in and around Carcassonne – Alexander Kristoff is unlikely to thrive. 

Alexander Kristoff in happier climes.

The television cameras of France TV were lying in wait for Alexander Kristoff’s unravelling. Kristoff, battling to regain contact with the back end of the peloton, would have been a hot tip for the stage win if it had not been 40 degrees. Instead, he was just hot, and the way that he chose to express his fundamental hotness was yelling at his bike. 

Broadcast to the world was an excellent 30 seconds of premium Kristoff content. First, viewers could see Kristoff swaying frantically back and forth trying to regain contact with the back of the peloton. This pursuit led to what – in an ideal world – would be an enduring image of this Tour de France. (And no, I don’t know what ‘pedaling with his ears’ means.)

Kristoff is a man that seems inclined to roaring, and in the space of a few seconds you can see him putting that attribute to good use. He roars once. He roars again. If you watch the full roar clip – up the top – you can see that he roars five times. Then, he roars once more while sinking his head toward his stem, dripping sweat abundantly onto the roads of Languedoc. 

At the end of the stage, when Kristoff crossed the line 13 seconds behind stage-winning Jasper Philipsen, he provided a brief response for the Intermarché Twitter account. “I fought very hard, but I was empty for the sprint so I helped Andrea Pasqualon [9th on the stage].

“Today was so hot, I miss Norway,” he concluded, wistfully dreaming of grey skies and green hills in real time. 

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