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State of the Nation: Denmark’s team analysis for the 2021 World Championships

Ahead of the elite road races of the 2021 UCI Road World Championships, Cyclingnews takes a look at the key teams. We analyzed the men’s teams of the United States, Australia, France, Britain, the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium.

Here’s a look at the Danish men’s team for Sunday’s road race.

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Mads Pedersen became the first male rider from Denmark to win the UCI Road World Championship in 2019 when he stole the show with a perfect performance to beat Matteo Trentin and Stefan Küng on the streets of Harrogate. Prior to that, Matti Breschel knocked on the door to take silver and bronze in the mid-2000s, while Bo Hamburger gobbled up his own money in 1997. Prior to that, Jogen Marcussen won bronze in 1978 and Leif Mortersen money in 1970.

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Key pilots

HARROGATE ENGLAND SEPTEMBER 29 Arrival Mads Pedersen of Denmark Celebration Matteo Trentin of Italy during the 92nd 2019 UCI Road World Championships Men Elite Road Race a 2618km race from Leeds to Harrogate 125m RR Yorkshire2019 Yorkshire2019 on September 29, 2019 in Harrogate England Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Mads Pedersen wins 2019 World Road Championships (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

On paper, the Danish team are the strongest team in the race with former world champion Mads Pedersen one of many potential winners. The team has a collective depth that runs through the eight-rider roster, with Pedersen saying Cycling news that there are potentially four leaders for the course of Flanders.

The standout candidate is likely Kasper Asgreen, with the 2021 Tour of Flanders winner perfectly suited to the course. The 26-year-old’s recent form has been impressive, with a fourth place in the world individual time trial after a seventh at the European Championships and the Olympics. His victory in Flanders, in which brain and muscle were used to take down his rivals before beating Mathieu van der Poel, demonstrated the Dane’s growing stature and illustrated that he can win major races via several potential scenarios.

Magnus Cort won three stages at Vuelta a España, but honestly he could have won five – he was so good. In the form of his life, he seems capable of causing a big blow on ground where he hasn’t always excelled. The 28-year-old finds himself in a similar position to Pedersen two years ago, just behind the top pre-race favorites, but that could work to his advantage if he can anticipate the moves. He is one of the smartest and most savvy competitors in the WorldTour.

Welcome to the party Mr. Valgren, we were waiting for you. After a few tough years at Dimension Data, Michael Valgren has returned to his best form and is heading into Sunday’s race with wins in his last two races. Like the rest of the leaders on this list, the 29-year-old has a quick finish – although not as quick as Pedersen – but he was the one who helped set up the Trek runner two years ago, and with a dizzying shape, he is a natural competitor.

Finally, 2019 world champion Mads Pedersen, who enters the race with slight health concerns due to a lingering hip problem. However, if Pedersen can pull the last embers of an inconsistent campaign and go the distance on Sunday, then he has the fastest result of the Danish contingent. The 25-year-old’s victories at Kuurne and Gand-Wevelgem have illustrated his ability to find opportunities where others fail to capitalize, and while he may not have the raw power of some favorites. pre-race, his racing brain is unmatched. It would also be a little poetic if the runner who saw his year in the rainbow spoiled by the pandemic claimed his second title in three years and could wear the rainbow jersey at Paris-Roubaix a week later. have won it.

Strengths

Pedersen spoke of the Danish team’s desire to run like QuickStep, in hopes the team can bring as many contenders as possible to the final. Power and talent are certainly there with four riders on the program more than capable of winning. The key will be communication and at some point someone will likely have to sacrifice their own chances for the greater good. That shouldn’t be a problem – from the outside the team looks engaged and as 2019 has shown, they seem more than willing to run for each other. If they take this approach in the race, then their collective strength could be enough to sweep the likes of Julian Alaphilippe and Wout van Aert. You know this team is stacked when you have 700 words and you haven’t even mentioned Mikkel Honoré.

Weaknesses

It’s hard to find a weakness among the eight selected runners, and the list highlights the strength within this generation of Danish male runners. Maybe they don’t have a superstar in the mold of an Alaphilippe, van Aert or Mathieu van der Poel but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and as Pedersen and Asgreen have shown in recent seasons. , reversing the situation on riders like van Aert and van der Poel is quite plausible if we seize the moment. They even have the best kits on the international stage, so give them the rainbow jersey now and it’s over.


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