“The: ‘Rutland’ is a bit of lottery!”

That’s what many riders say; but not 2010 winner Michael Berling.

He’s been top four three times in the last three years – we thought we best have a word with the man VeloVeritas works for every year at the Six Days of Copenhagen.

Michael is building a reputation for consistency.

Great ride, Michael – Fourth, second and first the last three years; but what about the first time you rode?

“I had to two flats and had to quit; it’s the kind of race that if you flat and you’re not in the lead group then you’re out.

“I’ve had good luck these last three years.”

Was the Rutland your first win of 2010?

“Yes; I’ve done a lot of racing already, after the Copenhagen Six we had our training camp and since then I’ve raced in Belgium, France, Holland and Germany.”

Do you train specifically for the Rutland?

“Yes, I tried to peak for it – the biggest race in Denmark, the GP Herning (as won by Alex Rasmussen, check out Pez for the interview) is the following weekend and I wanted to be in top shape for both of those races.

“Unfortunately, I crashed in Belgium, two weeks before – I came down so hard that I thought I’d broken my shoulder.

“That cost me a lot of training time, but fortunately I still had enough form to win.”

In Scotland, we'd say Michael's 'puggled'.

Are the wheels and tyres you mentioned in Cycling Weekly, a secret?

“Not that big a secret; we did a lot of work with wheels and tyres in preparation for Rutland and Herning – we use Rutland as a try out for the equipment we’ll use at Herning.

“We settled on Zipp 303 with Vittoria Paris – Roubaix tubulars; they’re that wee bit wider and stronger, they have more resistance to punctures and are fantastic on the gravel.”

Golden rules for Rutland?

“The number one golden rule is to be first round that last corner, if you’re sprinting from a group!”

Dan Fleeman says; ‘how do you organise a chase on a dirt road?’ is that fair comment?

“Yeah; we only had four riders, which made it difficult for us, but our game plan was for me to wait as long as possible and let my team mates cover the early moves; but when I saw that big group go away – even thought there was a long way to go – I decided to go with it.

“Early on we never got more than one minute and I was starting to wonder if it was the right move, especially because a lot of the big riders had missed it.

“But like Dan says, it’s very hard to bring guys back with the gravel and the hills – you can’t really ride tempo or organise a chase, you have to be attacking the course all the time.”

Is it a lottery?

“I don’t think so, you have to avoid bad luck and make your own luck.

“At 170 K it’s not that long for a UCI race but it’s very hard; for me the hills are as much a part of the race as the gravel – them and the heat.

“It’s usually very warm and you can’t get drinks from the cars, only the feeding stations.

“You can lose the race on the gravel sections but the last two years, it’s been on the the hills that I’ve tried to make the difference.”

Taking the win in the Fyen Rundt.

Kasper Jorgensen did a good job for you – is that the former team pursuit world champion?

“He did a fantastic job, yes – but no it’s not the same guy, it’s confusing, they have the same name and were both the same team for a while.

“With 50 K to go there were only nine guys left, three of them were Sigmas and I said to Kasper; ‘they’ll start to attack us, you respond but try to get away, yourself,’

“They tried to go, but then he kept attacking them, they had to respond but I think they ended up more tired than Kasper was – they were hurting more and more; but for me it was perfect, I could just sit in the wheels.”

Your Glud & Marstrand team?

“It’s a Danish Continental team, it’s been around for ten years and has gone from being amateur to more and more professional – it’s a really good set up.”

How did Herning go?

“I didn’t have the best day- I was in front most of the day with Saxo Bank but ran out of fuel with 30 K to go – that’s where I missed the training I lost with the shoulder injury.

“I was fine to 170 K but that last 30 K made the difference.”

Are you still at university?

“I’m in the last year of my masters degree in economics but I don’t do a full set of classes, that enables me to combine the time on the bike that I need with studying – it’s a perfect arrangement for me.”

Did the Danish media make a fuss of you for winning Rutland?

“Yes, I talked with all the Danish websites; they know about the race and if you win a UCI race, people always pay attention in Denmark – it gets good publicity.”

Michael has already enjoyed success on the track.

You started your career as a track rider, why go road?

“There was a restructure of Danish track cycling in the early 2000’s and they decided to concentrate on a small group of team pursuit riders – I wasn’t good enough to get in that group.

“Now there are around 10 riders on the track team but I’m happy to be focussed on the road – although it’s good to ride the Six Days of Copenhagen.”

Michael at the Copenhagen Six, with partner Michael Larsen.

Was the Rutland your best win?

“Every win is a great satisfaction but I was really pleased to win – I focussed on the race and prepared specifically for it.

“I was very disappointed to lose last year and to come back and win was very satisfying.”

And will we see you on the start line for 2011?

“Normally I would say ‘yes!’ but the Danish calendar is being restructured and it may clash with Herning, next year – but I hope not.”

With thanks to Michael for taking time to talk to his Six Day ‘runner’, and wishing him all the best for the rest of the season.

Result

1. Michael Berling Denmark (Glud & Marstrand) 168 kms in 4.14.19
2. Dan Craven Namibia (Rapha-Condor-Sharp) s.t.
3. Yanto Barker Gt. Britain (Pendragon-Le Col) s.t.
4. Kasper Jorgensen Denmark (Glud & Marstrand) s.t.
5. Kit Gilham Gt. Britain (Sigma Sport) s.t.
6. Stephen Gallagher Ireland (Sigma Sport. s.t.
7. Dan Fleeman Gt. Britain (Raleigh) s.t.
8. Simon Richardson Gt. Britain (Sigma Sport) s.t.
9. Steve Lampier Gt. Britain (Pendragon-Le Col) @ 30 secs.
10. Alexander Blaine Gt. Britain (Endura) @ 2.28 .
11. Lasse Bochmann Denmark (Glud & Marstrand) @ 2.29
12. Ian Wilkinson Gt Britain (Endura) @3.01
13. Malcolm Elliott Gt. Britain (Motorpoint- Marshalls) @3.21
14. David Clarke Gt. Britain (Pendragon-Le Col) @3.22
15. Andrew Griffiths Gt.Britain (London Irish) @3.24
16. Ondrej Pavek Czech Rep. (AC Sparta Praha) @3.26
17. Chris Newton Gt. Britain (Rapha-Condor-Sharp) @4.09
18. John Tanner Gt. Britain (Sportscover) s.t.
19. Matthew Stephens Gt. Britain (Sigma Sport @4.10
20. Rostislav Krotky Czech Rep. (AC Sparta Praha) @4.15
21. Matt Kipling Gt. Britain (Adept-MTS) @4.58
22. Rob Partridge Gt. Britain (Endura) s.t.
23. Chris Jory Australia (Asfra ) s.t.
24. Jack Bauer New Zealand (Endura) s.t.
25. Casey Monroe Gt. Britain (Pendragon-Le Col) s.t.
26. Tom Barras Gt. Britain (Team Raleigh) s.t.
27. Tom Murray Gt. Britain (Sigma Sport) s.t.
28. Wouter Sybrandy Netherlands (Sigma Sport) @5 03
29. Robin Sharman Gt. Britain (Basso) @ 5.17
30. Simon Gaywood Gt. Britain (Team Corley) @ 5.21
31. Andrew Roche Ireland (Motorpoint-Marshalls) @5.29
32. Matthew Higgins Gt. Britain (Team Corley) s.t.
33. Jack Kirk Gt. Britain (Midlands) @5.46
34. Dan Davies Gt. Britain (Kuota) @5.51
35. Will Bjergfelt Gt. Britain (Big Maggies-Willier) @5.54
36. David O’Loughlin Ireland (Ireland) @7.00
37. Graham Briggs Gt. Britain (Rapha-Condor-Sharp) @9.04
38. Ryhs Lloyd Gt. Britain (Pendragon-Le Col) s.t.
39. Fred Toortelboom Belgium (Deschuytter- Westkerke) @9.08
40. Gregory Frankaert Belgium (Asfra ) @9.09
41. Steven Gordon USA (Deschuytter-Westkerke) s.t.
42. James Cambridge Gt. Britain (Basso) s.t.
43. Dan Booth Gt. Britain (EMDA) s.t.
44. Simon Wilson Gt. Britain (Cycling Premier) s.t.
45. Matthew Rowe Gt. Britain (Big Maggies -Willier) s.t
46. Dale Appleby Gt. Britain (Team Raleigh) s.t.
47. Martin Ford Gt. Britain (Midlands) s.t.
48. Roger Aitkin Ireland (Planet X) s.t.
49. James Stewart Gt. Britain (Team Raleigh) s.t.
50. James Moss Gt. Britain (Endura) @9.22.
51. Mathias Jakobsen Denmark (Glud & Marstrand) @9.29.
52. Justin Calloway Gt. Britain (Asfra) @10.17
53. Jiri Nesveda Czech Rep. (Ac Sparta Praha) s.t.
54. Ladislav Fabisovsky Czech Rep. (Ac Sparta Praha) s.t.
55. Vaclav Hlavac Czech Rep. (Ac Sparta Praha) @10.26
56. Simon Baxter Gt. Britain (Adept-MTS) @13.23
57. Andrew Young Gt. Britain (Basso) @13.26
58. Kieren Frend Gt. Britain (EMDA) s.t.
59. Grant Bayton Gt. Britain (Big Maggies- Willier) @13.42
60. Martin Smith Gt. Britain (Kuota) s.t.
61. Dillon Byrne Gt. Britain (Herbalife-Wheelbase) s.t.
62. Philip VanDaele Gt. Britain (Deschuytter-Westkerke) @13.44
63. Llewellyn Kinch Gt. Britain (GWR -Swindon) s.t.
64. Ben Greenwood Gt. Britain (Rapha-Condor-Sharp) @13.49
65. Mark Wordsworth Gt. Britain (Team Corley) @14.48
66. Steven Guymer Gt. Britain (W,Country -Raleigh) s.t.
67. Matt Barrett Gt. Britain (W.Country-Raleigh) @15.01
68. Jon Mowley Gt. Britain (Kuota) @15.03
69. Richard Bott Gt. Britain (Herbalife-Wheelbase) s.t.
70. Andrew Hawdon Gt. Britain (Herbalife-Wheelbase) @15.05
71. Ashley Finn Gt. Britain (Cycling Premier) s.t.
72. Lee Davis Gt. Britain (Motorpoint-Marshalls) s.t.
73. Mike Harrison Gt. Britain (Basso) @15.09
74. Jefte De Bruin Netherlands (Kuota) @15.32
75. Jeroen Janssen Netrherlands (Kuota) s.t.
76. Pascal Colaert Belgium (Deschuytter-Westkerke) @16.13
77. Richard Mardle Gt. Britain (Felt Colbournes) @17.37
78. Steven Burke Gt. Britain Motorpoint-Marshalls) s.t.