PEZ: You’re from Copenhagen, Michael…
Michael: Yes, originally, but now I live in Luxembourg, it’s central in Europe for travelling and there are good training partners who live there, too.
Michael Morkov and Alex Rasmussen on the top step of the podium in Gent.
PEZ: Is Pro Tour life as you expected?
Michael: I’ve never enjoyed a year of my career as much as I have enjoyed this one. I’ve ridden the best races against the best riders – it’s a dream come true.
PEZ: You went from GLS, a Continental team to Saxo Bank and the Pro Tour.
Michael: The biggest difference is that on a Pro Tour team, everyone has exactly the same goals – staff and riders. With a Continental team, some of the riders will have a full time job and are riding just for pleasure. I want to go as far as I can go, in cycling – often I was the most experienced rider there, when I was at Continental level and there was no one to learn from. Here at Saxo Bank you are around all of these very experienced professionals and there’s so much you can learn from them.
GLS was a good starting point, but Saxo Bank is where Michael needed and needs to be.
PEZ: Have any of the older pros taken you under their wing?
Michael: Nicki Sorensen has been very good with me, so friendly; I was lucky because I roomed with him at the survival camp and he helped me a lot with how things work on the team. It’s always difficult when you come to a new team, but he’s been with CSC and Saxo Bank for eight seasons, so he’s very experienced. Jens Voigt too was very helpful too, he explained a lot of things to me.
PEZ: How many days did you race, this year?
Michael: Around 50 or 60; it was just right, not too much, a good programme. I was very impressed with it, I though that in my first season I might just be riding little races – but Saxo Bank don’t really do little races. Even the smaller races they do are good – like the Elektro Tour and Dunkirk; big races for me. Bradley McGee is my DS, he has been excellent, guiding me through these races. Brad is also my coach – nothing is too much trouble for him. I think that in a few years, he’ll be one of the very best directors.
PEZ: Which races gave you most satisfaction?
Michael: I rode the Tour of Wallonia where we won three stages; two with Matt Goss and one with JJ Haedo – I was involved in all of the three lead outs. I rode my first Pro Tour race this year, too – the Tour of Poland. I was very impressed with it; well organised, good roads, good hotels and very safe. I enjoyed the Tour of Murcia too, it was early in the season – I finished 14th in the time trial – I was pleased with that ride.
PEZ: When was your last road race?
Michael: I rode a UCI 1.1 in August, in France and was 7th in the sprint, Jimmy Casper won, but I was in there with the likes of Roman Feillu and Danilo Hondo – so I was pleased with that result.
PEZ: What about the transition from track to road to track?
Michael: I was nervous about how the Munich six would go; Alex and I hadn’t ridden on the track together since the Worlds. But it didn’t take us long to find our rhythm – we’ve both developed a lot as riders, this year.
PEZ: Goals for 2010?
Michael: To ride the Giro with the team, that would be a nice experience, if you are a professional cyclist, to ride the Grand Tours must be your goal – to test yourself, see if you can survive for three weeks.
It’s too early for me to be talking about victories on the road, like I can achieve on the track – I want to show my abilities for the team, develop as a rider.
Some riders come along, like Fuglsang, and can win big races from the start, but most riders need four or five years to reach their potential.
I don’t want to compare myself in ability to a rider like Matti Breschel, but it took him several years to become the rider he is – I would be pleased if I could copy him.
PEZ: It has all lived up to expectation, then?
Michael: I enjoy everything about the pro life, being around professional people – staff, mechanics, riders; the travelling. It all suits me, I love it !
With thanks again to Michael for giving us his time; and congratulations on his great win with Alex at Gent.