Allan, why did you choose to become a professional cyclist, and how did you end
up living in Belgium?
Well I started at a very young age and raced up to my junior years, but I
actually got really tired of it and decided to quit the sport and didnít touch a
bike for the next 8 years. But then a very good friend and I started competing
for fun and we decided to take part in a little amateur race in Ňrhus, and even
though I was in very bad shape and probably had gained a couple of pounds too
many in my 8 year break away from cycling, I actually went on to win the race
after having been in a breakaway for a little over 100 kilometres. And even
though I couldnít move from exhaustion the next 3 days, my passion for cycling
was back at a very high level.
How was your first year as a professional?
Hmm, my first professional year was a bit up and down as the first year
usually is, I didnít win any UCI ranked races or have any major results
internationally, but I did go on to win 3 street races, in ONE week in Sweden,
and I followed the good form up a couple of days later when I finished second in
the Scandinavian championships. So all in all, I was pretty content with my
first pro season, and even though the results maybe werenít that big, I was
certainly able to gain a lot of valuable experience through out the year,
something Iím really happy with today.
So after having been a professional cyclist for 3 years now, entering your
forth season next year, how do you think your career has turned out so far?
Well, so far Iím very pleased with the way my career has turned out, and I
have achieved to produce some good results which makes me confident about the
future. When thatís said, the 2001 season was however a really low point for me,
and even in my own mind I started thinking about quitting cycling because I
didnít find any joy in it at that time. I had a whole lot of bad luck in the
races I was competing in, and was constantly feeling really, really tired on and
off the bike and was starting to get a bit worried about what could be wrong
with me, because we were afraid that I might be suffering from glandular fever.
But the doctors tests luckily denied all signs of that.
Then through out the summer my strength and energy was slowly improving and I
started racing again and was very soon close to feeling like my old self again,
and of course it was a major relief for me when I got my first win of the season
in Holland (Ster Elektrotoer), a victory that more or less secured me a new
contract with Team Fakta for the upcoming 2002 season, and showed my directors
that I still was able to pursue some good results internationally.†
There has been a lot of talk about the atmosphere at Team Fakta and that you
all get a long really great, is that the truth?
Yes it actually is, we have very strong bond at Fakta and we are like a whole
little family in many ways. There always is a lot of laughter at the dinner
table and we also try doing our best in cheering each other up if someone is
feeling a bit down, and I think this is one of the main factors that makes Team
Fakta such a good and well-liked team among the riders. But we also do have some
very good team directors in Kim Andersen, Peter Meinert and Peter Sejer Nielsen
who are all very competent, and always working hard to secure that the positive
mentality within the team is upheld.
How do you see the Danish chance at the upcoming worlds in Zolder?
[Note: this interview was done before the World Championships in Belgium]
Oh thatís a hard one. I think our best chances will be at the hands of Allan
Johansen and Jakob Piil, who both are in excellent form at the moment and could
be really dangerous in a small breakaway as they both are very quick in small
reduced sprints. But again it will be very very hard to get a good healthy gap
on a course like the one in Zolder, and should it come down to as big mass
sprint we will have to count on the likes of Lars Michaelsen, but realistically
he will have it very hard against top performers like Mario Cipollini, Erik
Zabel, Robbie McEwen and those guys.
I know you injured your leg during the Circuit Franco-Belge, how is it coming
My leg is actually completely recovered, I went to see a specialist and it
turned out be two nerves that were stuck in my lower back which he quickly
cured, and now I honestly donít feel any pain in my leg any more, so thatís
In what way do you describe yourself as a rider?
Well my main strength is that Iím a good sprinter, but Iím also not afraid to
try my luck in some breakaways if the right chance offers itself, and actually
one of my main cycle philosophies is that if you don't ever seek your luck, well
then you never win, so I always do my very best to seek my luck.
Next season what will your goals and ambitions be?
They will actually be pretty much the same as this seasonís. I will try to be
in good form early on for the Tour de Qatar and Tour de Langkawi, and maybe have
a go at a short flat stage race where there isnít a time trail included, like
Tour de Picardie or something, and as always I will go hunting for stage wins in
the different stage races and still try to improve on my sprinting abilities.†
Do you have a favourite race you expressly look forward to each year?
Hmm, not really, but from a spectatorís point of view I however do find
Paris-Roubaix extremely fascinating, and even though I never have taken part in
it, it's a race I would really like to ride and do well in, and I would even go
so far and say that I would rather win the Paris-Roubaix than the World
Championships, because to me Paris-Roubaix represents all aspects of cycling,
"good and bad," and thatís even without any mountains along the route at all. I
also enjoy riding in some of the more exotic places the world has to offer on
the cycling scene, like Australia, Qatar, and Malaysia where the weather often
is top notch and new impressions alway comes in hundreds.
What do you think about top sprinters like E. Zabel, M.Cipollini, A.Petacchi,
O. Freire, and R. McEwen?
Uh, fast guys all of them - I have raced with them all except Mario Cipollini
unfortunately; heís so charismatic and has done so much good for modern cycling
today, and for me he truly is the undisputed "Heavyweight Champ" of them all and
undoubtedly the fastest sprinter in the world today, with maybe Robbie McEwen as
the sole legacy for the crown when the "Lion King" retires.
What do you think about Danish cycling at the moment (not a bad time to ask
since Jakob Piil (CSC-Tiscali) just has won Paris-Tours)?
Yes, it was an incredibly strong performance by Jakob, which also shows that
we still have heaps of strong cyclists in Denmark even though we may not have a
Tour de France winner among us any more, 'at least on the bike anyway.' But we
do have a couple of guys who are able to pull off some good results in the big
races; look at a person like Michael Rasmussen - here we really have a guy whoís
able to sit with the very best riders in the high mountains and truly has been a
big revelation this season, but again also the recent performances by Jakob Pill
and Allan Johansen are very uplifting, and I also do have to mention my two
teammates at Team Fakta, JÝrgen Bo Petersen and Lennie Kristiansen, who both
have been incredibly strong this current season.
And in the U/23 category we also have some exciting prospects like Rasmus
Dyrring and Brian Vandborg who are very talented riders with great potential.
But also the young junior rider Matti Breschel, whoís got amazing potential and
who has all the right tools to become a top performer, and will be really
exciting to follow in the future. And by the way, heís very fast!!!!!!!!
Thank you, Allan!