Rasmus Guldhammer targeting victory in 2012 Tour of Denmark
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rasmus Guldhammer targeting victory in 2012 Tour of Denmark

by VeloNation Press at 7:41 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Talented young Dane has morale back, motivated for year with Christian Watches team

Rasmus GuldhammerA year after walking away from a contract with the HTC team due to homesickeness, Rasmus Guldhammer has rediscovered his focus and has a set goal in mind for 2012.

“My team wants me to win the Tour of Denmark and my teammates will be united around me to achieve this,” he told Velochrono.fr, referring to the Christina Watches Onfone squad he has signed for. “It will be hard, but I will do everything for that. But throughout the 2012 season, I especially want to show me at my best, and to enjoy the opportunity that has been given to me to work in the conditions offered by this team.”

Guldhammer’s determination is encouraging to see, given the talent he showed early on and then the disillusionment which almost saw him quit the sport. In 2009 he won the Under-23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege plus two stages in the GP Portugal. He was just 20 then, yet also finished a superb fourth overall in the Tour of Denmark en route to the Best Young Rider award.

Unsurprisingly, those performances marked him out as a major draw for bigger teams and HTC Columbia signed up the-then Team Capinordic rider.

He was expected to progress further but while he finished seventh in the GP Herning and sixth in the Tour of Denmark, performing well on home soil, the rest of the year was disappointing. “In May, I was already a little tired of riding a bike,” he told DR Sports at the end of the season. “I missed the comradeship - at the Danish team you are very social and you feel comfortable with each other. We did take a course at Columbia, but something was missing, I think.”

His directeur sportif Brian Holm recognised that he wasn’t happy, but also felt that he could yet have a strong future in the sport. “I do not think he was ready for the professional life yet. If he can ride at a slightly lower level next year, I am confident that he can return to professional cycling,” he said. “There is no doubt that he has talent.”

Guldhammer set about doing that, competing with the Danish continental team Concordia Forsikring-Himmerland in 2011. In April he won a stage of the Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux, then finished second in the Himmerland Rundt later that month. A broken collarbone in the Olympias Tour set him back but while his Tour of Denmark performance was a very quiet one with the rider finishing 103rd, he attracted the attention of the Christina Watches team and secured a deal for 2012.

“I looking forward to working with Michael Rasmussen and former professional Michael Blaudzun. They are two really great guys,” he told VeloNation in September. “They have a lot of experience and I think this is a good place for me to get back in business.

“I think Michael can teach me a lot. He has done some of the world’s biggest races and won stages there. I think he can help me teaching me how to train, how to find my ideal weight and a lot of other things I can use.”

Although Rasmussen has a controversial past, Guldhammer identifies with him with respect to both of them being climbing specialists. The young rider has always been strong on that sort of terrain and wants to keep progressing.

The Tour of Denmark will be a good goal in 2012, with his family, friends and supporters able to see him there, and the tough climbing stage giving him a chance to show what he can do.

What’s clear is that his career appears to be getting back on track and while he has had a tough time, he believes it was for the best. “It was too soon. It was too hard to move to Italy rather than stay in Denmark,” he told Velochrono. “But hey, it's the past. I think now that I should have stayed two more seasons among the amateurs in Denmark. At the same time, signing with HTC was a unique opportunity. I was glad of this opportunity, as I am now delighted with my contract with Christina Watches.”

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