Sunday, July 25, 2021
HomeInterviewsMichael Mørkøv - Straight from the Road to a Six Day win

Michael Mørkøv – Straight from the Road to a Six Day win


It’s been quite a season for Saxo-Tinkoff’s former World Madison Champion, Michael Mørkøv. The man from just north of Copenhagen was the prime animator in the Spring classics; wore the polka dot King of the Mountains leader’s jersey in the Tour de France for the first week; was in the Danish team pursuit squad which dipped under the magic four minutes in London and he was back off ‘up the road’ in the late season Northern European classics.

And now, he’s just won the first Six Day race of the winter – Amsterdam, with former Netherlands elite road race champion, Pim Ligthart.

Michael always has time to speak to VeloVeritas and the day after his Netherlands triumph, he took our call.

Michael Mørkøv
Michael and Pim. Photo©TrackCyclingNews

You’re back winning Six Days Michael, congratulations.

“Yeah it’s a year-and-a-half since my last Six Day win in Copenhagen.

“But it’s two-and-half years since I won a foreign Six Day – I’m very pleased.”

You’ve had good late season form, though?

“I’ve had a really good road season, when I look back, I’ve always managed to choose the right breakaways.

“I was happy with how I rode in Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours.

“But I was good early season, too, getting in those breaks in the Flemish races.”

You didn’t give yourself much time to find your track legs.

“It was like that for my last Six Day in Copenhagen.

“I went straight from road training to the race. I think it’s because I’ve ridden so much track over the years that I naturally quickly adapt. I wouldn’t ride Six Days straight from the road if I didn’t think I could ride well in them.

“I spend time on the rollers beforehand of course, to get used to the bike and the higher cadence.

“I was pleased because I felt strong on the boards right from the first day.”

You’ve never ridden with Pim before, how long did it take for you to gel?

“I was a bit nervous, I’ve ridden the vast majority of my Six Days with Alex Rasmussen, I haven’t often ridden with others, so I wasn’t sure how our technique in the changes would be.

“The first night we took it easy with each other – but we built an understanding very quickly.

“I knew Pim to say ‘hello’ to but didn’t really know him well, so it was good to get to know him.

“He’s a good guy – a very honest rider.”

Michael Mørkøv
Pim and Michael change over. Photo©

It was a strong field.

“It was one of the strongest Six Day pelotons for a while.

“The World Champions Van Hoecke/De Ketele were there; Stroetinga/Schep is a good pairing – and of course there was Keisse/Terpstra.

Iljo is very classy and is always good – and Terpstra was on the podium at Paris-Tours.

They were the guys who gave us most trouble – but it gives you satisfaction to win from a strong field.

With it being the first Six Day of the season, some of the guys needed find their best shape – but I feel it’s a big honour to win the opening race of the season.”

How was the atmosphere?

“I like to race in the Dutch Six Days, Rotterdam is good, too.

“In Amsterdam the track is not so big – but there were no bad nights as far as crowds went.

“The crowd thinned after the big madison each might, but that’s normal – people have work the next day.”

Since your spell in polka dots, do you think you’re better known in The Netherlands, now?

“I’m not sure, I’m looking forward to Copenhagen to see if it makes a difference with the fans, there.

“It was good to be paired with a local guy – it means you get more support; and Pim is well known, he was Netherlands road race champion.

“It was good for the motivation – and more fun when we won; you’re not just the foreign guy stealing the win.”

Do you give your Six Day bikes a big check over before the first Six.

“I always take care of my own bikes – after their last race at Copenhagen, and then again before I came to Amsterdam.

“But my mechanic, Dirk Dekeyser is excellent, I trust him completely with my bikes – he’s been my mechanic throughout my Six Day career.”

Michael Mørkøv
Michael has complete trust in Dirk with his bikes. Photo©John Young

It must be difficult fitting in the Six Days with training camps and the early season races?

“I’ve still to discuss my programme with the team – I hope to ride in Rotterdam and Copenhagen; but I’ll have to see how that fits in with the team training camps.

“But I’m sure I can fit Copenhagen and give it my full focus.”

Saxo-Tinkoff will be stronger in the Classics for 2013.

“We have Matti Breschel and Daniele Benatti; Matti in particular is a very strong Classics rider.

“He was so strong in the 2009 Classics season and if he’s back to that level then he’ll be a contender for sure.

“He’ll be road captain – he reacts positively to that and the pressure and to the pressure of leadership.

“Maybe we’ll be viewed as underdogs but I think we have the potential for a good win in the spring.

“And it’s great to have Alberto back and in a position where we know where we stand and exactly what his programme will be, so we can build around that.”

We can’t help but think that Michael is on the verge of a very big win. Photo©Martin Williamson

And you’re on your winter break, now?

“Yes, my season finished last night.

“I have three weeks off the bike and then on November 12th, I have two weeks team-building with the squad.

“I spend most of my year travelling, so it’s nice to be at home in Denmark with friends and family for a while.”

And I have to ask – Lance?

“To be honest, I don’t care. It’s an old story, from a different time.

“It’s annoying and I can’t really have an opinion because it’s from another era – the sport just isn’t like that anymore. The young riders now just want to get on with their riding and racing – and leave all of that behind.”

We say ‘amen’ to that!  Thanks to Michael for his time, and we’ll hook up with him again at Rotterdam.

Result - Amsterdam Six Day 2012

Final Result

1 Michael Mørkøv/Pim Ligthart (Den/Ned) 304 pts
2 Iljo Keisse/Niki Terpstra (Bel/Ned) 228
@ 1 Lap
3 Wim Stroetinga/Peter Schep (Ned) 307
4 Gijs Van Hoecke/Kenny De Ketele (Bel) 300
@ 2 Laps
5 Yoeri Havik/Nick Stöpler (Ned) 199
@ 4 Laps
6 Robert Bartko/Jens Mouris (Ger/Ned) 142
@ 14 Laps
7 Barry Markus/Leon van Bon (Ned) 101
@ 17 Laps
8 Michael Vingerling/Geert-Jan Jonkman (Ned) 116
@ 20 Laps
9 Melvin Boskamp/Wesley Kreder (Ned) 107
@ 21 Laps
10 Cyrille Thièry/LoÏc Perizzolo (Swi) 94
@ 23 Laps
11 Nolan Hoffman/Marc Hester (RSA/Den) 178
@ 25 Laps
12 Morgan Kneisky/Roy Pieters (Fra/Ned) 88
@ 29 Laps
13 Jos Pronk/Leif Lampater (Ned/Ger) 131
Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Don Allan – Six Day Legend, Part One

f you know your Six Day stats then you'll be aware that the Australian pairing of Danny Clark and Don Allan is the ninth most successful ever, based on wins, with 15; but fifth most successful ever based on points from top four finishes - 15 wins, 15 second places, 11 third places and 12 fourth places.

Andreas Müller – Sights are Set Higher These Days

I remember interviewing Andreas Müller a year or two ago and him telling me that he'd be happy to emulate the career of German former Six Day rider Gert Dörich, who was the 'Taxi Driver' par excellence during his long career which took in 163 Six Day races.

Alfie George – On Winning the u23 Gent Six Day!

Adding his name to the u23 Gent Six Day roll of honour is Scotland’s Alfie George; the young Scot ran out winner just a few weeks after his fine seventh place in the Junior Worlds Road race in Harrogate and a season which saw him fifth in the junior Paris-Roubaix.

Dieter Kemper

It was British former motor pace rider, Six Day and road man Norman Hill who informed us of the passing of one of the Six Day Greats, at the age of 81 years; a true ‘all-rounder’ and one of the all-time Six Day Greats, ‘Rest in Peace' Dieter Kemper.

A Preview of the 101st Berlin Six Day 2012

The Berlin Six Day reached a golden milestone last January with its 100th edition, and the annual festivities will return to the German Capital for the 101st Berlin Six Day 2012 on Thursday.

Gent Six Day 2012 – Finale Snapshots

Snapshots from the Gent Six Day 2012, as we roam around the city and spend time with the winners in the bar.

At Random

Steve Beech remembers Grant Thomas

Steve Beech sent us in his memories of his friend Grant Thomas and his ‘Golden Era’, the 70’s. Whilst he’s perhaps best remembered for winning the British Championship, his greatest triumphs came in The Netherlands – on road and track.

James Oram – “busy enough not to miss home”

As the Giro battles raged from Scandinavia down to the Mediterranean, the next generation of Giro stars went about their business. Take 18 year-old Kiwi, James Oram – in 2011 he won the ‘junior Tour de France,’ the Tour de l’Abitibi in Canada. The likes of Steve Bauer, Laurent Jalabert, Bobby Julich and Andy Hampsten have all ridden in Abitibi so it’s a good indicator of potential.

The VV View: Sky, Wiggins and the TUE Grey Area

TUE's - once again I'm reminded of Elton John's words; 'and all this science I don't understand...' The forums are ablaze with righteous indignation from carpet fitters and bike shop mechanics, all of whom are well versed in conditions which affect an athlete's breathing and the treatment of any ailments related thereto. Me? I'm a glazier originally and I can't remember Prednisolone ever cropping up once during my 'apprenticeship.'

Jason MacIntyre Wins the Scottish Hill Climb Championship 2007

Jason MacIntyre Wins the Scottish Hill Climb Championship 2007 - It took Jason MacIntyre (Edge RT) just 3 minutes and 37 seconds to win his fifth Scottish individual time trial championship of the 2007 season; at Bonnyton Moor on a dreich Sunday afternoon, the hill climb was duly added to the 10, 25, TTT and circuit TT, in the bleak country above Eaglesham.

Oscar Onley – Racing in 2020 with Van Rysel – AG2R La Mondiale

It’s not long since we since we spoke to young Scot, Alfie George who’s making a name for himself on the international junior stage. Another young Scotsman who’s doing the same is Oscar Onley who recently landed himself a ride with French ‘feeder’ team, Van Rysel – AG2R La Mondiale. Best ‘have a word’ we thought...

Team Endura – Under the Radar; but not for long!

Here at VeloVeritas we felt that those Endura Racing boys would be giving us plenty to write about in 2009, so we thought we'd better sit them down with them and have a few words. As well as Jonathan McBain (owner of Pedal Power Cycles) and a lean and fit looking Gary Hand, a keen as mustard James McCallum was there too; so it turned into a lot of words!