Fuglsang looks back, plans forward
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Fuglsang looks back, plans forward

by Conal Andrews at 4:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Jakob Fuglsang has been taking part in the Saxo Bank training camp in Playitas on Fuerteventura, and, apart from getting some off-bike training in and meeting up with his team-mates, he’s also been using the time to plan towards 2010.

The 24 year old had an excellent first season with the team and wants to set bigger goals in the year ahead.

“Bjarne and I have had a small talk about my chances of doing the Ardennes Classics and the Tour de France,” he said. “But there are things to be improved in order to be in that special line-up”.

The Danish rider has emerged as one of the biggest young talents in that country and impressed during his first year with the team. He successfully defended his 2008 title in the Tour of Denmark, won the Tour of Slovenia, was second in the Giro dell’Emilia, sixth overall in both the Volta a Catalunya and the Dauphiné Libéré, and tenth in the Tour of Ireland.

He also rode his first Grand Tour when he participated in the Vuelta a España and took second, third and third on stages.

The achievements led to him being made Danish Rider of the Year by Danish TV2 and the website www.feltet.dk, as well as bringing him a considerable degree of satisfaction.

“It is a recognition of me as a rider and it’s valuable to me that people notice the good results I’m doing,” he told the website SaxoBankTakingTheLead.com. “It is particularly important when there are so many other great talented riders in Denmark such as Matti Breschel, who really took some huge wins this season,” he said. “It gives me morale. In my generation of riders there’s a huge potential and we could almost build a competitive Tour de France line-up if we were on the same team.”

“There is nothing more satisfying than to fulfill the goals you have set for yourself,” he continued. “I had worked hard and been focused to make a great appearance in the Dauphiné Libéré. It was a bold and almost surreal experience to be out there with Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador on the Mont Ventoux, where I was even able to put pressure on them both in their own terrain.

“Evans contacted me afterwards and would make an alliance with me in which I agreed, if the conditions were right. When I attacked the following day he was not to be seen.”

His form was such that team boss Bjarne Riis said afterwards that he wished he had selected Fuglsang for the Tour de France. However, while his team-mates were preparing for that race, he was profiting from his Dauphiné form and confidence to solo to victory on stage one of the Tour of Slovenia.

“The stage I won was 240 kilometres with several mountains along the way,” he remembers. “I went in a break pretty early and on the last 40 kilometers I was on my own in the front. The feeling when you are alone and you know that victory is within reach is unique. That victory means a lot to me”.

So too did his overall success in the race, plus the one he achieved several weeks later in his national Tour.

“The idea was to have to use Tour of Denmark as part of the preparation for the Vuelta,” he said. “On the first stage I was in a break which unfortunately was denied by the sprinters. I was still feeling a bit weak from Sachsen Tour but as the race progressed I was feeling regenerated and when the field entered Frederiksberg on the last stage and I was in the leader’s jersey, I noticed chills spread all over my body.

“To win on home ground with the audience’s support in kind of caliber was a unique experience for me. But the biggest victory to date is still to win the mountain bike U23 world championship in 2007. I had been working really hard to get so far and the satisfaction being at the top of the podium was indescribable”.

Hunger for success:

Fuglsang is an ambitious rider who seems destined for a very bright future. As he tells things, his motivation for cycling is born out of something very natural; namely, the simply enjoyment of being out on his bike.

“I love cycling. That is why I do it,” he explains. “To ride out and enjoy the terrain and the prospect of mountain peaks is an important part of training. Even on rest days I am often riding longer than scheduled, because I just want to get up on top of a mountain and enjoy the scenery. I could not imagine ever stopping training. It is not always with my good will that I am taking a break like now, but it is necessary to restore that particular hunger it takes to be at the very front of the races”.

He said that he’s also motivated by the team he is with, as well as those who work alongside him there.

“Riders who Stuart and Jens are indispensable,” he said, speaking about the Australian Stuart O’Grady and the German rider Jens Voigt. “They have so much experience and routine to give and they are an inspiration to the entire team. Such riders are hard to miss.

“Team Saxo Bank is a great place to be because of the positive atmosphere within the team. All riders are allowed to have an opinion and nobody is excluded, which are some of the reasons why I want to stay here.”


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