Michael Mørkøv on Tour breakaway: “I know my dad would be proud”
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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Michael Mørkøv on Tour breakaway: “I know my dad would be proud”

by Ben Atkins at 3:35 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Danish rider chases difficult solo stage victory on the anniversary of his father’s death

Michael MorkovDanish rider Michael Mørkøv (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) was in his fifth breakaway of the 2012 Tour de France, in the thirteenth stage between Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux and Le Cap d'Agde. On those previous days it had been to take, then hold onto, an early lead in the mountains jersey classification, but today it was for far more personal reasons; Mørkøv’s father died on July 14th 2007, and the 27-year-old wanted to honour his memory with a stage victory.

Mørkøv told letour.fr reporters this morning that he wanted to do something in today’s stage, and was present in the break, which escaped in the very first kilometres of the day. He was joined by seven other riders but left them behind with 64km to go, and tried to take the stage alone.

“It's precisely five years ago today that my dad died and I wanted to pay my respects him with this attack,” he said afterwards. “I had a lot to go ride for. I thought about him all the time out there and the thoughts and feelings were my gasoline today.

“I had hoped the other guys in the break were stronger so we could have climbed the final slope together but the pace was too low and my only chance was to go on my own beating my own pace and I knew I was punching a crazy amount of watts but it wasn't enough so I'm happy about my performance,”

Unfortunately for Mørkøv the peloton getting aggressive in the late crosswinds - but mostly the steep climb of Mont Saint-Clair with 23km to go - meant it was too much for him to make it alone.

“From the moment I went alone, I was going full gas! I gave it everything I could and I was digging really deep,” he told letour.fr afterwards. “Of course, when I hit the climb I was in trouble but I tried to fight over it and at least stay with the front group... unfortunately I just missed by a few seconds.

“I was riding with a lot of emotions because today is, in fact, five years since my dad died. He started me in cycling – he gave me the inspiration – and I really wanted to give to my family know that I'm now in the best league. I'm in the Tour de France now and I know he would be proud. I was really fighting hard for the win today.

“People who do sport know that, if you have special feelings – if you really want to perform something special – you can dig deep and get some real power out of your legs. I did that today and I felt really good when I was out there alone.

“I was digging so deep on the approach to the climb and I did whatever I could to gain time; when I hit the hill I just exploded and I tried to fight over it and unfortunately it was not enough.”

While he was not able to take victory in what turned out to be a far more complicated sprint stage than expected, he was awarded the “Prix de la Combativité” for the most aggressive rider of the day, and will wear a red number on his back in tomorrow’s fourteenth stage.

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