Road World Championships begin today in Copenhagen
The Danes may have to cheer for Norwegian cyclists
The Danish cycling team has been hard-hit right before the race, which began on Monday at 10:00 a.m. with the Women Juniors’ Time Trial.
First, Danish sprinter Matti Breschel dropped out of the race because of an injury which has failed to heal. While riding the Vuelta a Espana 2011, he crushed two of his fingers during a crash. They must be operated on. The Danish national coach Lars Bonde told Danish newspaper Ekstrabladet, “It was Matti himself, who in a conversation with me said: ‘I cannot see any real progress, and we have to shut it down this time.’”
Only two days later, Alex Rasmussen’s contract was terminated after the team was informed that the Danish rider had missed a compulsory drug test, thus violating the team’s code of conduct.
“When the team now looks the way one wouldn’t want it to look, of course there is disappointment,” said Bonde to NRK.
Danish sports fans are disappointed, too. Before Breschel quit, expectations were high for the Danish cycling team. “It could not be worse. The chances of getting a medal are almost zero. No one other than Breschel was qualified to win. Maybe Alex Rasmussen could have, if he was fit enough, but now he is also out,” said a disappointed Flemming Fjeldgaard, sports editor at the Berlingske Tidende.
Therefore, it seems the Danish media will have to switch their focus a bit to create headlines.
“We have joked a bit in the editorials here, and said that the Danish team should maybe concentrate on helping Norway win new trophies and titles,” said Fjeldgaard to NRK.
“It is a little surprising that this duel exists between Norway and Denmark in soccer, while the Danish relationship to cycling is something completely different. I speak on behalf of a large share of the population in this country when I say that Thor Hushovd and Edvald Boasson Hagen will be loved during the World Cup,” said Fjeldgaard. Thor Hushovd and Edvald Boasson Hagen are Norway’s strongest cyclists in the 2011 World Championships.
So, will Norway have its revenge over the Danes with the Road World Championships in Copenhagen?
“With the past years’ success in Norwegian cycling, Norwegian fans have already had their revenge. We feel small in relation to Hushovd and Boasson Hagen,” said Fjellgaard.
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