HomeCyclingWorld No.1 Lead-Out Man Michael Mørkøv Talks Sprinting!

World No.1 Lead-Out Man Michael Mørkøv Talks Sprinting!

World No.1 Lead-Out Man Michael Mørkøv Talks Sprinting!

Rider Interview: It has been stated by many individuals that Michael Mørkøv is the very best lead-out man within the peloton and if Mark Cavendish thinks so, then it should be true. Michael is again at Cav’s facet to assist him take his thirty fifth, historical past making Tour de France stage win. PEZ caught up with the flying Dane earlier than he flew to the Tour Colombia.

Astana Morkov 2024
Time for chat with the World’s No.1 lead-out man – Michael Mørkøv

Earlier than we began the interview, Michael wished to know the way Ed Hood was after his stroke final yr. Michael and Ed go method again, aside from the numerous interviews, Ed labored with Michael on the ‘6 Days’, operating for him and doing all these jobs {that a} rider wants throughout these quick nights on the indoor boards.

Ed Morkov
Ed, Michael and the Tour KOM jersey

Ed Hood suffered a severe stroke final February. We don’t count on Ed will make it again into our bunch, so we’ve began a GoFundMe web page to assist Ed along with his future.  Learn the complete submit right here – and please think about donating.

** Click on this hyperlink to donate to the GoFundMe web page to assist Ed **

Michael Mørkøv: Ed is my superb buddy. And in addition, I did many interviews with PEZ biking up to now, and that was at all times with Ed. He at all times did it with such such large respect, he was at all times very well mannered in the direction of me. However it was at all times a bit bizarre as a result of I labored actually shut with him within the six days, so for me he was actually a buddy, however as a substitute he stored knowledgeable distance when doing the interviews. In fact I’m actually unhappy to know what has occurred to him and I’ll miss speaking with him as a result of he of all journalists, he’s most likely the one who is aware of me the very best, who is aware of my background.

Ed Morkov interview
Ed interviewing Michael

You’ll the Tour Columbia with ‘Cav’. What’s the reasoning?
To start with is to arrange the season. So we go there with the thought of doing an altitude coaching camp, as a result of this ought to be a fairly good place to be at altitudes the place we’ve got a number of flat roads to coach on, which is essential for us. After which we additionally obtained the prospect to journey the Tour of Colombia, which I believe will hopefully be a pleasant race to get began with and hopefully we are able to take a stage win there and that’s just about why we go.

Tour Colombia 2024
third place for Mark Cavendish on the Tour Colombia first stage

PEZ: I believe some phases are over 2,000 metres?
Sure, I believe one climb is over 3,000 metres excessive.

PEZ: In order that’s a bit like pressured coaching as properly?
Yeah, however we’re there three weeks earlier than on a coaching camp, getting used to the altitude, it’s gonna set us up properly for the race and particularly for the approaching months. Clearly after that, the UAE Tour is a vital race for us, as a result of the UAE Tour is the place all of the sprinters are clashing yearly now. So, you recognize, these are very totally different races, however I’d say from my standpoint, that’s the place you’ve gotten the very best status races as a sprinter and as a dash staff.

Tour Colombia 2024
There may be lots of climbing in Colombia

PEZ: Are you able to inform me which races you’ll journey between the UAE Tour and the Tour de France?
The UAE Tour is essential, then we go to Tirreno and hopefully there will likely be some sprints there. After which we’ve got a few of the flat Classics. We do Milano-Torino, Scheldeprijs, De Panne and that’s the spring, however primarily, it’s UAE and Tirreno which are essential to hopefully get some victories.

Scheldeprijs 2021
Scheldeprijs 2021

PEZ: What’s your final race earlier than the Tour?
We begin once more with the Tour of Hungary in Could, I believe it’s after which we go on altitude coaching camp once more, for 3 weeks.

Astana training 2024
Coaching with ‘Cav’

PEZ: The place would that be?
In Sierra Nevada. I believe in the mean time we’re nonetheless ready for affirmation of the phases, however I believe we’d go Swiss, however from yr to yr it modifications quite a bit. Typically you’ve gotten Swiss with none sprints or identical with Dauphiné. So sprints are seldom today. These days, there’s many races with none Dash’s, so due to that, as a dash staff, we’ve got to pick our programme actually fastidiously.

PEZ: If you’re organising a dash, how does that each one work? Or how does the mechanics of a dash lead-out be just right for you?
Properly, it at all times relies upon from race to race. Clearly, I count on Colombia to be like a bit decrease stage type of racing. So most likely there we have to take better duty than we should do within the UAE Tour as a result of in UAE I count on there will likely be most likely ten very sturdy dash groups. So then it’s extra about like having the tactic on the day which staff we need to comply with, perhaps we need to take duty ourselves, however that additionally will depend on how Mark is feeling, like, how is the shape? Do we’ve got the power to essentially take it from the entrance? Or ought to we keep a bit sheltered and are available from the again. So it’s like there’s 1000’s of techniques in a dash.

There’s 1000’s of techniques in a dash

PEZ: UAE Could be very windy and open.
Yeah, UAE is at all times a troublesome one as a result of we’d be specializing in a dash, on a dash stage, however you can not simply sit again and look ahead to a dash since you by no means know due to the cross wind.

PEZ: There may be going to be lots of sprinters within the Tour de France this yr, would you be watching anybody particularly within the ultimate kilometres?
Usually I’d by no means watch a sprinter particularly, I’d at all times watch his staff. These days, it’s not like there’s one sprinter who’s the person to beat, it’s extra just like the groups. We’ve seen up to now, for a lot of races, like Alpecin they usually have a really sturdy line-up. Clearly in case you have Van der Poel there to lead-out Jasper Philipsen, you need to be very cautious about that as a result of he’s such a robust rider. The identical with Jumbo-Visma (Visma | Lease a Bike), Okay, within the Tour it is perhaps totally different, but when they’ve guys like Van Aert, if he’s sprinting or if he’s main out Kooij or somebody, it’s a special recreation. I count on DSM subsequent yr with Fabio will even do a correct practice. So it’s additionally like doing races, you’re studying the capability of every staff and the way they strategy the finishes. It’s an terrible lot of homework.


PEZ: So do you assume that as a result of there are much less dash phases/races and there appears to be extra sprinters than ever, however much less alternatives. So it’s harder now than it has ever been to win phases?
For certain. I will even say that these days there may be perhaps extra sprinters, however extra sprinters on the identical stage, extra sprinter’s groups on the identical stage. So let’s say within the Tour de France and particularly within the UAE Tour, there’s many groups who can do a extremely good lead-out, many sprinters who’ve extra lead-out guys. Lead out guys up to now, let’s say 10 or 15 years in the past, typically there was one or two groups main out and different sprinters would type of comply with and have a dash, however now there’s at all times lots of groups who can actually take photographs and there are extra battles and rather more can go improper and typically you possibly can simply be fully boxed in. Worse conditions, like in Paris-Good or the Tour de France the place the highway will be blocked with 60K to go and in case you’re not in your place, you by no means make the arrival. Like we had that in a stage final yr within the Tour; mainly blocked within the final 30K’s and we by no means obtained to contest it.

Astana Morkov 2024
Espresso time with ‘Cav’ and Michael

PEZ: The entire staff is for Cav?
Yeah, yeah certain. All for Cav. Sure, in fact I believe for certain on the Tour, additionally we’ve got Lutsenko who’s additionally going for phases and possibly a number of different guys, however undoubtedly on the times for a Dash will likely be for Cav and I see him already having like good power, I’m actually in a position to see he has fine condition at this second and I’ve big confidence in him. Like you recognize in him as a sprinter, we all know he’s most likely the very best dash on the market, regardless of his age and since he’s such an clever sprinter it’s like the important thing behind him. I’ll say the boldness of being part of the tremendous sturdy staff round him, I’m very assured that we’ll line him up and ship him to victories.

PEZ: Sprinters are identified to be… not fragile, however issues need to be excellent for them.
The factor is, on this staff has achieved him lots of good. As a result of this staff actually embraced him coming right here, they gave him the complete assist with out being on his neck. So, you recognize, he and we’ve got lots of freedom simply to concentrate on what we’re greatest at, and attempt to win races, which is such an incredible alternative, as a result of clearly, you recognize, in lots of different groups, you’ll have to battle in your spot towards different sprinters, perhaps even towards the GC guys; like, what number of assist riders can you’ve gotten within the Tour, what number of can that man have (GC or dash staff) and you then the entire spring you need to show your self to get staff. So all of that isn’t right here and I’m actually impressed in regards to the ambiance within the staff.

Tour de France 2021 stage 4
Tour de France 2021 stage 4

PEZ: However the staff is a strong dash staff, it’s not like, you’ve obtained anyone going for GC, or going for the KOM, it’s a sprinter’s staff, which there hasn’t actually been for years.
No, the factor is, particularly within the Tour de France there may be at all times a compromise. You’ll by no means go along with a full dash staff, okay, at Fast-Step we truly did it. However yeah, that’s additionally the benefit.

bennett morkov
Mørkøv and Bennett 2020 Tour de France

PEZ: What in regards to the ‘6 Days’? Are they completed? Aside from Gent. It’s so unhappy.
I’d be the final one to name it off, as a result of I actually have such a giant coronary heart for the six days and I actually miss it, you recognize. Particularly now, I’m sharing the room with Mark, some nights, we simply begin speaking in regards to the six days up to now and the way a lot we loved it. Him and I have been sitting there as novice riders watching the professionals, finally we grew to become professional ourself and the enjoyment to get a contract with the skilled six days. The entire recreation across the six days was simply wonderful. For me, it’s fairly properly vanished, isn’t it? We all know we’ve got nonetheless an incredible six days in Gent, Rotterdam continues to be holding up, they’re doing an incredible job. However you recognize, that complete World of six day racing, you recognize to return again to Ed, he was along with Angus, my soigneur for years, and so they have been like a part of the circus transferring round.

A little bit of enjoyable in Copenhagen 2018

As a rider, everytime you would be part of a six day you’ll be coming to folks you knew, nearly like a observe household. There was lots of historical past in it. So now we’ve got occasions, you possibly can name them six days, however you recognize, many of those conventional issues have gone. You don’t have the identical mechanic anymore, you don’t have that soigneur, it’s simply totally different. Now it has change into extra like simply racing, which can also be high quality, I admire racing, however six days was simply one thing totally different, it was simply leisure. For me, and a pleasant facet factor to the World Cups and one-day occasions and World Championships. Some locations do a 3 days, however that is additionally extra like simply racing, you don’t have that issue of the music and every part else. Ten-fifteen years in the past, you’ll have that group of six day riders who have been transferring round, you might say that perhaps these guys wouldn’t win World Championships, however it was such a distinct segment for them. So they’d be the very best, like artists on a observe. These days, while you put up a subject for any race, you received’t have these wonderful six day riders anymore, they might journey round with closed eyes, they don’t exist anymore. Now it’s extra like simply pure efficiency.

The ‘6 Days’ household in Copenhagen

PEZ: Do you assume it’s too specialised?
I don’t know. I believe that’s what I see within the sport. the extent, the overall stage, is simply larger and better, which makes it extra particular, we’ve got to go for particular occasion, no matter your capability is.

PEZ: Will you go to the Olympic Video games this yr?
Certain. The Olympics are an enormous objective of mine and I’m Olympic champion, so in fact, I wouldn’t simply depart that behind. That was a vital level for me, coming to Astana. First time I spoke with Vino (Alexandr Vinokurov, Astana sports activities supervisor), I stated to him: “what are the probabilities for me to take part on the observe on the Olympics?” He stated “we’re gonna assist you 100%.” In order that was a part of my package deal.

PEZ: How lengthy after the Tour de France are the observe occasion on the Olympics?
It’s three weeks, in order that’s all proper. I’m actually pleased that the staff embraced it and provides me the liberty. I believe that additionally exhibits lots of what the staff is about. Many groups would simply saying no, simply because they will’t deal with various things. However right here, they’re actually relaxed and so they additionally know what do they get from me. If I get my probability to do my Olympics, I’ve additionally to sacrifice myself for the staff earlier than after which after I’ve my very own possibilities.

Again to the Olympic Video games

PEZ: Do you assume that’s perhaps greater than trendy method although? Since you’ve obtained guys driving mountain bike, cyclo-cross, highway and observe.
I don’t assume that’s a contemporary factor, it comes very a lot all the way down to the riders. I believe it’s as a result of if I’ve the capability or the talents to di observe biking I’ll do it, and the identical for Van der Poel and these guys, they prefer it and so they can do it.

PEZ: Yeah, there was at all times some guys, like Roger de Vlaeminck and observe riders who have been highway sprinters, however there are riders now who speak about driving gravel through the season.
Yeah, now there’s a better flexibility. With observe biking, I used to be at all times fortunate. Okay, I used to be often known as a observe rider once I signed for groups, however I at all times had fairly good assist. I additionally know many riders who by no means obtained to assist to do observe. So it’s a bit break up, it’s typically additionally you’re fortunate perhaps to have a sponsor, who would push so that you can do gravel, observe or mountain bike.

Nationwide champions with Deceuninck

PEZ: How do you’re feeling when folks like Kittel and Cavendish say you’re the very best lead-out man within the World?
In fact, I’m at all times flattered to get optimistic response and I take pleasure in my place, however to be trustworthy, I additionally know that you simply’re by no means higher than your final dash, the boldness is tremendous essential. The rationale why I got here right here is as a result of I do know Mark has nice confidence in me, trusts me. We’ve seen that previously that him and I labored very well collectively. So it could possibly be that I’m not the very best lead-out man on the day, however I consider that for him, I’m the very best lead-out man, as a result of we’ve got an excellent relationship and that’s essential.

PEZ: On the Tour de France would you share rooms with Cav?
Yeah, I at all times favor to share a room with my sprinter as a result of that provides you one other dimension or one other software to work shut collectively. Typically it’s a bit bizarre if you’re separated out of your sprinter and you need to talk about issues over breakfast or dinner.

worlds 2008
Mørkøv and Cavendish on the 2008 Worlds podium

PEZ: What number of extra years will you race? You’re 38 now?
Yeah, that’s query. I’m 38, I’ll be 39 in April 2024, so getting nearer, I received’t be doing 5 extra years. However in the mean time, I take pleasure in having the liberty to take it yr by yr, so this could possibly be my final yr. If there’s one thing attention-grabbing arising for 2025, let’s say a younger sprinter, a brand new undertaking, why not? I’m not settled, you recognize, however in fact there must be challenged up the highway.

PEZ: You turned professional in 2009, you’ve seen lots of modifications since then, particularly not too long ago, in the previous few years. The younger guys arising are totally different from while you have been a younger professional, it’s like a special recreation.
A 100% it’s totally different. Yeah, however you recognize it’s method past biking, I believe it’s the trendy World. So what you see with the younger guys coming now, they arrive with big confidence and so they know every part beforehand, they arrive with with much less respect for the fellows who’s already right here earlier than, however I believe that is what you see in all society. So in each group, younger folks will enter with this nice confidence. After I was a professional, once I began I used to be nearly afraid that anyone would say to me that I had entered the improper room, however now the fellows come like they know every part, the biking is right here for them. It’s totally different. However think about how a lot data they will get now, once I was a child there wasn’t a lot.

Gent 2009
A younger Michael Mørkøv with accomplice Alex Rasmussen profitable the ‘Gent 6’ of 2009

# An enormous because of Michael for his time and Vitalii Abramov of the Astana Qazaqstan staff for arranging the interview. #

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