Joining the likes of Norwegian fast men, Boasson Hagen and Hushovd, before him; Halvorsen finally makes his debut in a WT team after much interest following his U23 Worlds victory in 2016.
Storming onto the scene at the back end of the 2016 season, Halvorsen sprinted to victory in the U23 Men’s Road Race just a day before Peter Sagan won his second rainbow title in similar fashion. Despite beating the likes of Pascal Ackermann, Jakub Mareczko and Phil Bauhaus to the title, the young Norwegian became an unfortunate victim of too much interest, Team Sky and Quickstep Floors both calling each others bluff into signing him.
Instead he continued to race for CT Norwegian based team, Joker Icopal, where he went onto further flourish under national colours. A win in the Handzame Classic, beating Adam Blythe into second, and a stage in the U23 Tour de l’Avenir soon affirmed the Norwegian’s talent and it wasn’t long before the WT sharks began to circle once again.
Touted as Quickstep’s future classics star, it was in fact the British outfit of Team Sky that secured Halvorsen’s signature, the youngster signing a two year contract with the team during the summer of 2017.
Fellow countryman and Team Sky’s directeur sportif Gabriel Rasch had this to say on the youngster’s arrival into the British based team,
““He’s a really promising sprinter and I think in the future he could be a good Classics rider as well. He already has some wins to his name and he’s a super fast young guy,” Rasch explains before going onto compare the Norwegian to a young Mark Cavendish, “He’s very calm outside of cycling, but when he sees a sprint he turns into an animal.”
Halvorsen’s domination of the 2017 Tour de l’Avenir points classification is likely another reason he caught the attention of Team Sky’s talent scouts. A stage win and five top fives within the opening five stages made sure his name was on the tip of everyone’s lips come the end of the race many call, ‘The Junior Tour de France’.
Joining Halvorsen at Team Sky after an equally successful Tour de l’Avenir are Pavel Sivakov and Egan Bernal, two youngsters hoping to fill the boots of a recently tarnished team leader…
With Elia Viviani finally leaving the British outfit for greener pastures with Quickstep, Team Sky have left one large hole within their sprinting department. Step forward Kristoffer Halvorsen, the young Norwegian seemingly their answer to lead the team on the flat.
Even Team Sky’s second rate sprinter, Danny van Poppel, has left the team, leaving the door wide open for the youngster to secure WT starts left right and centre. Whilst this may come as brilliant news for Halvorsen, there will certainly be questions around how it will affect his development; is throwing him at the deep end like this the best way to nurture his kindling talent?
Whatever the outcome, there’s no doubt we’ll be seeing the youngsters name plastered all over results sheets in 2018; namely of the week long stage races that litter the spring calendar.
WT hit or flop: A tough one to call considering the depth and responsibility behind his new role at Team Sky. If Rasch is correct about his Cavendish-esque personality, not only will he be a WT hit, but potentially even a firm fan favourite in his first year.
2018 Potential: Straight into the deep end for Halvorsen, a spot on the Paris Nice roster as well as the sprinters classics among the spring time cobbled races. Heck, if Froome finds himself surrendering a Vuelta title defence, Halvorsen will likely get the call to salvage some wins in the sprints…
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