Trackies Rasmussen and Mørkøv sign for Saxo Bank
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Trackies Rasmussen and Mørkøv sign for Saxo Bank

by VeloNation Press at 5:16 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track
Two of the 2009 additions to Bjarne Riis' cycling team know each other a lot better than most: the current "Couple Number Seven" from the tracks are now part of the team, which will be taking on the roads this coming season leaving their continental team in favor of the best cycling team in the world.

The riders in question are of course Alex Rasmussen and Michael Mørkøv. They have been teammates lots of times on the National Team and on the track, but now they will also be teammates on the asphalt all around the world.

"Of course we're really happy about this. It's an exciting new chapter for both of us," say the two Olympic Silver Medal winners.

Before Rasmussen and Mørkøv hit the roads they'll have to finish the track season: On Thursday this week they're teaming up in Ballerup, from 11. till 16. December they'll be doing a six-day race in Zürich and between Christmas and New Year they have races in Dortmund and Ballerup.

In January the duo will be joining the rest of the team for the training camp in Mallorca but Rasmussen and Mørkøv will be going early.

"We'll be getting there early because we're going with the track team, so we'll just stay down there and wait for the rest of the team to get there later in the month. And then after the training camp we'll be doing six-day races in Berlin and Copenhagen," explains Mørkøv, who is the most talkative of the two.

After Copenhagen they'll be traveling directly to California to take part in the next training camp on the American West Coast.

"We'll be well prepared ahead of the World championships in March with all those six-day races, the training camps as well as a road race or two. So it'll be exciting to see how strong we are and if we'll make the team at all," says Rasmussen modestly.

The plan is for both Mørkøv and Rasmussen to take part in the World Championships both as a couple and in the team pursuit and after that it's one hundred percent road racing. There's the European Championships in October but that's not a focus point right now for the Danish duo.

"After the World Championships we're focusing entirely on the roads. There might be a few six-day races on track but that's not something we'll be thinking about after the World Championships. It would only be as warm up for the season on the road," determine the two.

All the riders have their race program for next year more or less planned up until May:

"I've got a really great program, where I'll get the opportunity to show what I'm capable of. Most of all I'm just really looking forward to doing the smaller stage races where I should be able to gain a lot of experience as well as getting to know my teammates better," says Mørkøv.

"Our programs are almost identical and I agree that's it's great that we have so many stage races," adds Rasmussen.

There's no doubt that Rasmussen has the best results on the roads so far especially via his excellent sprinting skills, which gave him no less than four stage victories in Tour of Qinghai Lake in China this past summer, but he has also done well in the time trials.

"I'd really like to try and work on my skills in the short time trials and prologues. I've done well in time trials up to about 15 kilometers - in Tour of Denmark in 2006 for instance," says Rasmussen, who is excited at the prospect of working closely with time trial expert Bradley McGee.

This year Mørkøv won a stage in Giro del Capo and has also taken a second place in Under-23 Ronde van Vlaanderen in 2007.

"Ronde van Vlaanderen is definitely one of the races I dream of doing one day but there are so many great riders standing in line in front of me, so realistically I'll be concentrating on some of the smaller races to start with and in the long term some of the Semi-Classics and real long term the actual Classics and maybe even Tour de France," says Mørkøv.

When Rasmussen excelled in Tour of Qinghai Lake Mørkøv was leadout man for his teammate and that will probably be the case again in 2009.

"I'm pretty fast but not that great at the finishing sprint. Partly because I'm a bit scared of what happens at the end in the bunch sprints, but also because I lack that last bit of power for the final 200 meters. But I've done loads of sprints for other riders though – also on Team GLS," says Mørkøv.

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