For 10 Tours de France now, Alexander Kristoff (Uno-X) has marked a milestone: he starts the race aged one thing, and then every July 5, turns a year older. The Alexander Kristoff Tour birthday is as constant as death and taxes.
Across that long history, this year’s Tour birthday is a strangely low-key one for the now 36 year old. The Norwegian veteran is at the Tour on a Norwegian team which is riding its first Grand Tour, dealing with the steep learning curve of bringing a (mostly) young roster to a very old race. That has led to a big uptick in interest at home, focusing on the exploits of a whole group of riders, rather than just one standard bearer. For Alexander Kristoff, that has one very tangible side-effect: no birthday cakes at the stage start today in Pau.
In years past, the country’s Tour de France TV rights partner, TV2 Norge, was good for a birthday cake and a festive sing-song for the cameras. This is a fact that, at Escape Collective, we have been made acutely aware of courtesy of photographers on the ground.
A particularly fine example came in 2017 when Kristoff was accosted with a moist mud cake by TV2 pundits:
We thought that was that. We were wrong. Today, Alexander Kristoff told Escape Collective that there’s a very particular reason that he doesn’t get cake from TV2 anymore, and that is because “they are scared that I will smash it in their face, because I did it this time.”
This, I am sure you will agree, was a conversational escalation. “There was a cake smash?!”
Kristoff begins laughing. “Yeah, because they always write shit about me, so then I get the cake …” he trails off ominously, mischievous smile on his face.
So will there be cake today? “There will be cake,” Kristoff says firmly. I fact-check this with the team, and they agree that he will have cake tonight. What kind of cake? “I don’t know. The nutritionist is organising it,” the team media officer assures me.
“The nutritionist knows?”
“The nutritionist always knows.”
Half an hour later, in the mood to stir some shit, I head over to the TV2 crew. No cake for Kristoff – what gives, guys?
“We are serious journalists here,” I am told. “It’s a record number of Norwegians, there’s also a Norwegian team … so maybe we have a different approach to everything now.”
“Or maybe it’s just awkward to do it 10 times in a row,” counters another TV2 employee. “Awkward maybe, but also it’s much funnier to keep doing it,” I assure them. Then my fellow serious journalists come through with some intel that I do not have.
“He wants an Oreo cake,” they tell me. “He has asked for a special cake from the nutritionist, and she has already ordered one. So he will get it.”
“Oreo? That’s surprising to me.”
“Yes, perhaps. But he will have an Oreo cake. He’s that kind of guy.”
What did you think of this story?