By Jakob Duma
One of this year's main events on the international cycling calendar, the
World Championships in Hamilton, is turning out to be quite a nightmare for the
little Scandinavian country of Denmark. Ranked 10th in the World team rankings,
Denmark is allowed to start with 12th riders in the World Championship road
race, but that however, will be far from the case. Cancellations, injuries and
doping bans are minimising the choices National Manager Brian Holm has to select
from. And when the road race in Hamilton kicks off on the Sunday the 12th of
October, only five riders will be representing Denmark in the hunt for the
Top Danish climber and hot out of the Vuelta a Espana Michael Rasmussen has
decided not to take part in the Worlds and will instead focus on a top result in
the last World Cup race of the season the, Tour of Lombardy. Injuries have
struck both Jakob Piil and Jørgen Bo Petersen in the weeks leading up to the
Worlds and will hold them both out of the race, while a old doping ban from
years back still prevents Spanish legionary Claus Michael Møller from taking
part and representing his home country in the World Championships, a race in
which he always dreamed of representing Denmark.
Instead the Danish cycling union has taken Danish Bad Boy Bo Hamburger back
under it wing, after a two year old long suspension, to create a little
firepower along the roads in Hamilton. Another action being taking is
undoubtedly the promotion of Nicky Sørensen to a protected rider, as he has the
capacity to become the big Danish joker in Hamilton, and should he hit top form
that day, anything is possible for the tall lanky Dane.
The Danish team for the World Championships in Hamilton will be as following:
Undoubtedly the captain of the Danish team, and the former silver medallist
winner from the World Championships in San Sebastian in 1997, has been showing
some very good form lately in some of the late Italian semi classics - 2th
in the GP Prato, 7th in the Coppa Agostoni, 9th in the Giro di Romagna, and 10th
in the Milano - Vignola, shows that the 33rd Dane is in excellent conditions for
The route suits his characteristics and the expected Top-15 placing by the
Danish cycling union seems to be a realistic goal for the experienced Dane. Now
only time will tell if we have the old Bo Hamburger back, and how far his acual
form and mental state will take him.
28 year reigning Danish Champion Nicki Sørensen has the potential to become
the big Danish joker on the hilly course in Hamilton. The lanky Dane has had an
average season for his level, with the absolute highlight being his Danish
National Champion win in Nibe on the 29th of June.
Besides that, he was one of the major animators for teammate Tyler Hamilton's
glorifying victory in this year's Liege Bastogne Liege, were the young Dane
showed that he has what it takes to become a top professional at the very
highest level. Just coming out of his second grand tour of the season, after
doing, for his sake, a rather anonymous Vuelta, his form is reported to be good,
and no doubt that the spark and the motivation will make the young Dane a very
interesting figure to follow on the Danish team on the hilly roads in Hamilton.
Denmark’s absolutely joy rider number one, Frank Høj, is being reported to
be on up and coming form for the World Championships in Hamilton. Strong as an
ox and always the big opportunist, Frank Høj will no doubt be very active in the
beginning and looking for the chance to join one of the early breakaways that
will be established on some of the first rounds on the hard circuit.
Høj has been showing very good form recently with 5th place in the GP
Fourmies and a 6th place in the GP Jef Scherens, and will no doubt be very very
motivated indeed to shown of the Danish national jersey in front of the very big
crowd in Canada. So look out for the Danish powerhouse that will do all in his
power to grab the spotlight and flaunt all his stuff during the very hard 260
kilometeres on the wide roads in Hamilton.
The fairytale continues for the 30 year old Bekim Christensen from Team CSC.
The sympathetic Dane left the chaotic Team Coast after a hectic spring and
signed a one year contract with fellow countryman, team manager Bjarne Riis´
mighty Team CSC. The confidence from Manager Riis was shown immediately to the
quiet Dane, the Tour of Switzerland, the Tour de France, and the Vuelta a Espana
has all been on the busy Dane's program so far this season, and he has repaid
the confidence from his team bosses, by serving as a trusty and loyal domestique
throughout the entire program set up for him.
In Hamilton, Christensen will be back is his usual role as a loyal helper,
but the Dane has never been afraid to admit that he also has ambitions for
himself. And there will be no better window to show himself off than the one
that will be offered on October 12th.
The fifth and final place within the Danish National Team for the Worlds
will go to the 30 year old Michael Skelde. Skelde, who has had a very good
season so far, has shown some very good form recently with a 5th place in GP Jef
Scherens and a 9th place in Luk Cup - Buhl, and is currently ranked as number
152th in the world with a total of 359 UCI points.
In Hamilton however, M. Skelde's primarily role will be to act as an early
observer in the first part of the race, but also to be present when one of the
earlier breakaways in the race gets established. While he also will have to
serve as a loyal and trusty domestique for his designated Team Leaders, he still
should be there in the later parts of the race, when the big guns start to play.
The Danish squad in Hamilton for the Road Race
Denmark will not take part in the individual Time Trial on October 9th.