This week, Michael has won his second consecutive Grenoble six with Alex and signed a contract with one of the world’s top teams – Saxo Bank; and let’s not forget his Olympic team pursuit silver in Beijing. We decided we better pass on our congratulations:
PEZ: The most important question – is Natalie’s pizza van outside the track at Grenoble, still as good, Michael?
Michael: For sure! We had one on the last night of the six – our soigneur dropped the lasagne on the floor!
PEZ: Quite a week for you, tell us about the six first…
Michael: The field is not as strong as a six like Munich, but there were three or four teams fighting us for the win. Alex Aeschbach and Jerome Neuville finished third, but they were riding very well; I think Aeschbach has found good form again.
PEZ: What’s your six day programme?
Michael: We ride Dortmund – we’re driving there just now, it starts tonight – then Munich, Zurich, Berlin and Copenhagen. We’re not riding Ghent because we have the Saxo Bank survival camp on those dates.
PEZ: The Saxo Bank contract is signed?
Michael: We had the meeting yesterday, I had my lawyer there, but when Bjarne Riis offers you a contract and your friend and six day partner is already with the squad, then there’s not that much to think about!
PEZ: Was there a ride or result that clinched the deal?
Michael: It wasn’t really about results, Bjarne said that he liked my power from the track and he felt that there is a lot of potential for me to develop. He’s more than happy for me to target the Worlds and Olympics but I won’t be riding so many Track World Cups or six days. But he’s also keen to see the number seven team in the sixes riding in Saxo Bank colours and doing well.
PEZ: What are you looking forward to most?
Michael: I’m looking forward to riding good races, big races. I want to ride short stage races and semi-classics; find out which type of races suit me best.
PEZ: Do you have your programme yet?
Michael: Not yet, we’ll be discussing that at the survival camp in November, then we have another camp in Majorca in January. I think we’ll be getting our equipment in November. The team are on Specialized bikes next year, so Alex and I are really looking forward to seeing our new track machines.
PEZ: Goals for 2009?
Michael: The Worlds team pursuit is my first goal but, I want to establish myself with Saxo Bank, prove that I am a team player and that I can be trusted to do a job.
PEZ: Denmark has lost their team pursuit coach, Heiko Schweidel.
Michael: Yes, he was with us for four years and we built a very close relationship. But there comes a time when a change is needed. Heiko has had offers from other countries, but it’s not really about money – I think that both he and us need something fresh. I’m looking forward to new training, new camps.
PEZ: Will you continue to live in Denmark?
Michael: No, Casper Jorgensen and I have taken an apartment in Luxembourg. Alex and I stayed there last night, on our way from Grenoble to Dortmund. It’s a nice place, very clean and and there are great roads for training all around.
PEZ: Final question – will you win the Copenhagen Six?
Michael: I hope so! Alex and I are both with Saxo Bank now and we’re wearing the famous Danish colours, number seven jerseys, so we’ll be trying hard!
With thanks and congratulations to Michael – and you never know, Pez just might be at Copenhagen!