World championships: Team Denmark fights to the end on home soil
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

World championships: Team Denmark fights to the end on home soil

by Kyle Moore at 8:16 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 
Lund, Sorensen, Bak active in Copenhagen finale

Michael MorkovThough they lacked a rider suited for the finish on Geels Bakke, the Danish squad showed themselves well in the World Road Race Championships. Michael Mørkøv was the best-placed finisher for the home team, with the Dane crossing the line in eighteenth position. In the closing circuits of the race, Anders Lund, Lars Bak, and Nicki Sorensen all put in attacks, sending waves of excitement through lines of fans along the roads.

Speaking to Feltet.dk at the finish, the Danish riders seemed pleased with their efforts. After being initially named a reserve, Mørkøv finished in the top twenty in place of the injured Matti Breschel.

“I felt good all day,” Mørkøv commented. “I felt really strong at the end and I was really happy that Lars Bak and Anders Lund wanted me to try my sprint. It is satisfying when you consider that all the elite sprinters in the world are at the start.

“It is good to be eighteenth,” he added. “It would have been a little more fun to be better placed, but it’s okay, and it’s especially thanks to the lead-out I got from Lars Bak. He took me to the front in the last corner.”

All the road race championships throughout the week ended in a bunch sprint, but many wondered if the elite men’s race would be different. The red-hot Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) was widely considered as the pre-race favourite, but the Danish riders who best knew the course didn’t sound surprised at the result. Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) took his first world title on the road, out-kicking Matt Goss (Australia).

“I think it was going to be set up for a bunch sprint from the start,” Mørkøv explained. “The British rode a great race, and mastered the course. I think all the time it looked like [it would end with] a bunch sprint.”

Trying to go against expectations was Danish veteran Nicki Sorensen. He joined a late move off the front of the peloton with Thomas Voeckler (France) and Klaas Lodewyck (Belgium). The trio built a small lead, but with Lodewyck covering for Gilbert and with 250 kilometers already in their legs, the coup was unsuccessful.

“There were only three of us, and the British kept control,” Sorensen told Feltet.dk. “We were into a good rhythm coming up Castle Hill, and it started to get really exciting. But then we were brought back. It was a fantastic feeling to be there. It was so cool.”

Ultimately, the race came down to the countries that wanted to break up the race versus the countries that wanted to keep it together for a bunch kick. Without Breschel to sprint, Denmark’s strategy called for aggression.

“I think there were many attempts to split [the field],” Sorensen added. “There were some nations that tried to make it hard. There were many powerful nations that wanted to be in the initial breakaway.

“We were a little annoyed that we weren’t in that first break with the two Belgians (Johan Van Summeren and Olivier Kaisen). We certainly would have liked a man up there. Otherwise, I think we did well as a team.”

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