Sunday, October 17, 2021
HomeInterviewsMichael Mørkøv - Deceuninck’s Danish World Champion

Michael Mørkøv – Deceuninck’s Danish World Champion

The all round star, Michael Mørkøv, has added another title to his palmarès – World Madison Champion, for the second time. At the recent championships in Berlin, partnered by fellow Dane Lasse Norman Hansen, Mørkøv took the rainbow colours.


I’ve not shed tears of joy at many bike races but I did in November 2009; I was ‘runner’ for Danish pair, Alex Rasmussen and Michael Mørkøv at the Gent Six Day and ‘my boys’ took the last sprint of the race and overall victory with the rainbow jerseys on their backs as World Madison Champions. A special night.

Alex has retired and is now Zwift ambassador for Scandinavia but Michael has just gone and done it again – World Madison Champion, this time with 2012 Olympic Omnium Champion, Lasse Norman Hansen. Michael is three times and reigning Elite Danish Road Race Champion, a Grand Tour stage winner and ‘Classics Man’ of note – but his roots are deep into those hardwood boards.

Multiple Danish Champion on the track, European Champion and now three time World Champion – Michael was part of the winning Danish team pursuit squad at the 2009 Worlds. He’s has always been happy to give of his time to me and I had to catch up with him after his latest triumph.

Michael Mørkøv
Lasse Norman Hansen and Michael Mørkøv (r), new World Madison Champions. Photo©Tobias Schwarz/AFP

Congratulations, Michael – is it fair to say that the journey back to this title has it’s roots in that UCI madison you and Lasse won in Bordeaux back at the end of 2018 to begin the qualification process for Tokyo?

“Even before that, I was climbing l’Alpe d’Huez in the 2017 Dauphine and getting my ass kicked but I’d recently heard the announcement that the madison was on the Olympic programme and I thought to myself that I needed to aim at that – something where I could win instead of getting my ass kicked like this!”

I checked the stats on you and Lasse’s winning ride; you scored in 13 of the 20 points sprints in the race with six sprint wins and wins in three of the first four sprints – was the tactic to go early?

“No, we were going to wait until deeper into the race but after 15 laps Lasse sneaked away and got a small gap, I maintained it but wasn’t going deep, we held a half lap advantage for 30 laps, taking the sprint points then we joined the peloton and took the lap and the 20 bonus points – by 40 laps in we had 36 points.

“The New Zealand team were second with a final 33 points so by that 40 lap stage we pretty much had the race won – we finished on an eventual 62 points.”

The average speed of the race was 58.754 kph – that’s crazy fast.

“That’s reflected in the fact that we took the only lap of the race – if you look at the arithmetic it means our speed was touching 59 kph for the race.”

Lasse Norman Hansen and Michael Mørkøv (r) won the European Madison Championships together. Photo©A.Whitehead/Presse Sports

Lasse and you have connected very strongly.

“We don’t get the opportunity to ride together very often but since we started our Olympic project we’ve won every race we’ve ridden – the Bordeaux madison you mentioned, the Paris World Cup, the Europeans, the Minsk World Cup and now the Worlds.”

Can I ask what gear you rode?

“I’d rather not say, but I know that some teams were on as big as 58×15; the gears are so heavy with some teams that when it comes to the sprint they can’t ‘lift it,’ they’re bogged down on the big ratio.”

It’s hard to believe it’s 11 years since you last won this race.

“Yeah, 2009, the next year the Worlds were on our home track at Ballerup, Copenhagen; Alex and I wanted to defend on out home track but I sustained a knee injury and we finished outside of the medals.”

You had the family behind you at Berlin, I noticed.

“Yes, my mother, brothers, wife and kids were all there. I booked 25 seats for us, Berlin is the closest track for us outside of Denmark.

“It may be my last track Worlds so it was a big dream to have them all there with me.”

A great Sunday for Deceuninck with Kasper Asgreen’s win in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne too.

“Yes, I watched the recorded highlights of Kasper’s race on TV – that was a really impressive performance he put in.”

Lasse Norman Hansen and Michael Mørkøv in Worlds action. Photo©Crystal Tai

Has the Danish Media made a fuss over your performance?

“Yes, but I think it’s had much more impact because it’s mixed up with my quarantine and all the Coronavirus stuff and the Olympics coming up.

“I had six minutes live on CNN the other day.”

You were at the heart of all that, weren’t you?

“Turbulent days!

“I abandoned the UAE Tour after Stage Four, as planned, flew to Berlin and was there in time to watch the Danish team pursuit guys winning their gold medal.

“Then the UAE Tour was cancelled, the ‘Corona’ story broke and I decided to stay in my room in Berlin, I didn’t feel like going to the track.

“Then we heard that fortunately it was mechanics who had been found positive for Corona in UAE, the doctor examined me and I was given the all clear – I feel like I was super lucky to get to compete given what was been happening with guys still in quarantine in the UAE.”

Michael Mørkøv
Michael Mørkøv now aims for the Olympics.

Paris-Nice for you now?

“Yes, I’m in Paris we’re going to ride but are obviously taking all appropriate precautions.

“But really, no one knows how it’s going to pan out. I think because it’s been given a name, ‘Corona’ is makes it more sinister.

“When I was in my hotel in Berlin my wife went to pick up our boy at kindergarten and there was a guy giving my wife hassle because he said I was infected and in quarantine and she shouldn’t be there – crazy!

“After Paris-Nice I have De Panne and Gent-Wevelgem, the ‘sprinters races’ and I’m supposed to be riding the Tour of Turkey in April but no one is sure how that’s going to turn out with all that’s going on.”

I guess ‘it’s all for Tokyo’ now?

“Absolutely, Olympic gold has always been my dream and Sunday’s win makes that dream seem even more possible.”

With thanks to Michael for his time and insights, we wish him well for his forthcoming races and of course, that big day in Tokyo.

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

World Road Championships 2007 – Day 3: Road Race Parcours Preview

I got my Hugh Porter interview here at the World Road Championships 2007, it's not often that you get the chance to meet your hero, sometimes they disappoint, not Hughie, a cool guy who certainly doesn't live in the past, like many old pros do. Today was "course preview" day, I had hoped to borrow a bike, but eventually I thought; 'ach, I'll just walk!' for the first couple of hours this was fine, especially since there was lots to see; not least 'still banned' Danilo Di Luca, training with the Italian team.

World Road Championships – Mads Pederson surprises to win the Elite Mens’ Road Race

Denmark’s Mads Pederson drops to the wet Yorkshire tarmac, a hundred metres past the finish line, he can’t take in what he’s just accomplished. He has out-sprinted one of the foxiest and fastest men around, Matteo Trentin of Italy - the hot pre-race favourites for the title on this horror of a day.

World Road Championships 2007 – Day 1: Espoirs Time Trial

I'm sitting in the press room at the World Road Championships 2007, sharing a table with my boyhood hero, Hugh Porter, four time world pursuit champion and on the podium in that event for seven years straight-he'll need to get interviewed, I can't let that opportunity go! We're here for the Worlds in Stuttgart, the Under-23 time trial was this morning and ladies time trial was this afternoon. I was lucky-enough to follow the Latvian rider, Gatis Smukulis in the test.

Craig Maclean – Trackside at the Worlds

Martin: "Here! Ed! Shouldn't we be doing a piece about the World Track Champs?" Ed: "They've never been the same since Daniel Morelon retired and Hughie Porter had that crash, then they ditched the big motors and..." Martin: "Hold on - go and speak to Craig Maclean!" Ed: "Aye, right, he'll know a bit, being an ex-world champ and all..."

John Archibald – Reflecting on his World Championship Pursuit

Here at VeloVeritas whilst we have the utmost respect for John Archibald and his performances we didn’t seek any pre-Worlds interviews from him, his sister Katie, Neah Evans or Mark Stewart. We felt that the ‘they just need to turn up and ride then bring home the rainbow jerseys’ vibe was putting them under pressure – of which they would experience more than enough in the cauldron of Pruszkow. We let the dust settle post-Worlds, gave John a call and found how it went...

The VeloVeritas Years – 2019: The Elite Road World Championships

We didn't realise when we made our way to the Civic Hall in Leeds for the sign-on of the 2019 Elite World Road Championships just what an epic day we were in for; emergency purchasing of umbrellas in the local outdoor centre didn't quite cut it as the deluge lasted almost the entire race.

At Random

Grenoble Six Day 2011 – Sixth Night

Last day - it's not a big programme, sprint series, team time trial and the closing 180 lap chase. By six day standards that's not a long chase, around 38 K - at Copenhagen they have 300 lappers on a 250 track - but here, it's heavy duty for the small teams. Franco reckons that Kris and I should have dinner in the track centre, tonight - well, it sounded good to me.

Dan Bigham – “I’m somebody who prides themselves on objective decision making”

In 2017 he won eight British titles; with his KGF team he’s put together the most effective independent UCI Track World Cup squad there is and when Cycling Weekly want to speak to an ‘aero expert,’ he’s the man they go to. Dan Bigham has been a regular on VeloVeritas these last two years and we were pleased to see his selection for the Commonwealth Games.

Hargroves Cycles sponsor Matrix Fitness-Prendas

In what has been a hugely progressive winter for the Matrix Fitness-Prendas team where new partners have seen the potential of the all female squad, Hargroves Cycles have become the latest addition to the team's list of sponsors.

The VV View: Beaten by a Late Goal

Beaten by a late goal. I was at the football last night, I took my son to see Dunfermline v. Queen of the South.

One More Sleep! time for the TdF 2010 to Start

One More Sleep! time for the TdF 2010 to Start. We are at the end of Day -1, which is the point where the whole team just want things to start already. Admittedly I’ve been in that mood since Tuesday afternoon when I headed out from the team Service Course in Girona. Now everyone else has joined me in night-before-Christmas-as-a-seven-year-old land.

Joe Papp 2010 Interview – Reprised

Two and a half years ago we spoke to Joe Papp following the declaration of a positive dope test result for his compatriot Tom Zirbel.