Saxo Bank unsure if Tour of Beijing course is tough enough for Chris Anker Sorensen
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Saxo Bank unsure if Tour of Beijing course is tough enough for Chris Anker Sorensen

by VeloNation Press at 2:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Danish team will throw its weight behind JJ Haedo for bunch sprints

Chris Anker SorensenHaving finished one minute 22 seconds behind Tony Martin (HTC Highroad) in today’s opening time trial of the Tour of Beijing, Chris Anker Sorensen must bank on Friday’s third stage of the race to get right back up the leaderboard.

The Danish climbing specialist was 85th overall the 11.3 kilometre distance, and has a lot of work to do if he’s to ride back into contention. However, even if he sets a stage win as a more realistic target, his team-mate Michael Morkov is unsure if the Saxo Bank SunGard rider can manage to do achieve that.

“We have a powerful team of riders here with the Haedo-brothers for the sprints, Chris (Sørensen) for the climbs and the rest of us for the undulating terrain. However, it's pretty hard to tell the roughness of the climbs in the race based on the look of the map and route profile, and maybe the climbs aren't tough enough for Chris to shine,” he admitted.

Friday’s stage travels 162 kilometres from Men Tou Gou to Yong Ning Town. Early on, the riders will scale the category two Dong Fang and the first category Gao Quin ascents; after 50 kilometres of flat roads, the riders will then race over the first category climbs of Xeizishi and Erpuliang.

However, despite their ranking, these latter climbs are below 650 metres high, making them small by European standards. There are also twelve mainly downhill kilometres from the summit of Erpuliang to the finish which, even if he has a gap over the top, will make things tough for Sorensen.

The other stages are mainly flat ones, giving a limited opportunity for a climber to make up time or to chase a stage win.

Because of that, Morkov said that the team might have a different focus than on Sorsensen. Stage two will give Saxo Bank SunGard a better idea as to its chances in the big gallops that are expected this week.

Morkov said that if Sorensen can’t shine, the team will row in behind Juan Jose Haedo. “Otherwise, I guess JJ (Haedo) will have the biggest opportunities for a good result,” he said. “We're going to support him in the bunch sprints and tomorrow's stage closes with four laps on a rough circuit; with a steep uphill finish…that just might end up in a sprint decision,” he said.

Martin holds a 17 second lead over Garmin-Cervélo’s David Millar. Sky Procycling’s Alex Dowsett is a further seven seconds back and has pledged to fight in the days ahead.

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