Nine gold medals at the Worlds for Team GB – wow! So, the rest of the World will be happy to compete for silvers at Beijing? Hardly! One man who’ll be doing his best to deny Bradley Wiggins two gold medals in China is Denmark’s Michael Mørkøv. He took bronze in the Madison at Manchester, last month partnered by compatriot and former world scratch champion, Alex Rasmussen.
Michael didn’t make the Danish team pursuit squad that dipped below the magical four minute barrier to take silver behind the British squad; but he hopes to rectify that by the time Beijing is upon us.
Are you and Alex happy with the bronze, Michael?
“We made some mistakes, but it’s my first Worlds medal and I have to be pleased about that.
“We lead the race for a long time and we were beginning to think that maybe we can hold on for the win; so right after the race we were disappointed, but the next day we were both happy that we had taken the bronze.”
Wiggins — impressive?
“Very, we obviously knew that he was a great pursuit rider, but we had no idea that he was so good in the Madison. They tried six or seven times to get the lap and their last attack, when they launched the attack that got them the lap gain – he was just so incredibly strong.”
Risi & Marvulli disappointed?
“I think that early in the race they were waiting to see what was going to happen and at half distance they made a huge attack; I think this took an awful lot out of them. In addition it was a tough race – all the teams in contention had to work hard.”
You must have been disappointed not to make the team pursuit squad?
“Of course, I’ve been on the squad since we were doing 4-20, so it’s disappointing not to be on the podium. I’ll be working hard through the summer to try and get my place back; Michael Faerke has made a big improvement over the last year, he was going better than me coming in to the Worlds and got my place. I’ll be doing a lot of gym work to build muscle and power; I am the lightest of the five guys on the squad.”
The Danish team has been transformed over the last year.
“I think a lot of it is just down to how we think now. I can remember when we thought it would be difficult to break the Danish record of 4-08, but now we think in terms of going well below four minutes. Our coach Heiko Salzwedel has been a very positive influence too.”
I’ve heard it said that Heiko is motivated by revenge to beat the GB team, because he worked briefly with them, but it didn’t work out?
“I don’t think ‘revenge’ is the right word, but for sure, I think it would give him a great deal of satisfaction if his new, young team was to beat the GB team. He’s done good work with us, taking us from nowhere to the podium.”
Can Denmark win in Beijing?
“I think it’s worth remembering that going in to the last Olympics, GB were favourites for the team pursuit, but Australia won it. I think that Australia will be very dangerous again in Beijing, but we are on the way up and I think that gold is certainly possible.”
A lot has been made of the GB ‘super bikes’ — how much advantage do you think they confer?
“I think that they are all customised to suit each rider, whilst our Cervelos are standard sizes, but I think that’s the only advantage. I think the Cervelos are very good and the riders have worked with Heiko to get the best equipment, the Easton bars that we are riding, for example are the stiffest you can get and very light.
“We ride Campagnolo Ghibli wheels with Vittoria tubulars — that’s a very fast combination. I’m really pleased with my ‘bunch’ bike also – it’s a carbon Principia and rides perfectly.”