In doing so, the experienced Dane became the 14th different Quick-Step Floors rider to take a victory this season.
Michael Mørkøv won the Danish National Championships for the second time in his career, five years from his maiden title, which came also in a bunch sprint. If Vordingborg was the venue of Michael’s first success, this time around he came out on top in Nysted, after a stellar effort of teammate Kasper Asgreen, who kept everything together on the final lap, before Mørkøv powered through in the closing 150 meters to beat Niklas Larsen (Virtu Cycling) and Michael Carbel (Fortuneo-Samsic).
“It feels fantastic to be able to contribute to the winning stream of Quick-Step Floors. We have won nearly 50 races this year already and I am really proud to bring another National title to the team and represent Denmark on the best cycling team in the world. I must say that I was hoping to be in the mix today but it still feels like a dream come true to don this beautiful jersey”, said the 33-year-old Michael as he stood against the railings at the finish.
Up until that point, the day had been an action-packed one, with attacks and counterattacks, a four-man breakaway animating the first part of the race, followed by a dangerous trio taking the front and a 29-rider group setting off in pursuit of the leaders, who they caught before the final lap, just as everything was coming back together, with the peloton making the junction as well after a furious chase.
Not wanting for all to come down to a bunch sprint, several riders tried to blow up the race on the tricky and technical final kilometers, only for neo-pro Kasper Asgreen to superbly shut down all those moves, as the peloton approached the pointy end of the 217.5km-long race. Unsurprisingly, the fight for position was hectic, but Michael Mørkøv remained calm and expertly bided his time, relying on his experience and instinct, before blasting to his first victory of the year.
“I had a good sensation all day, in fact in the last week leading up to the Nationals I have felt really good so I knew I could do it but it is never easy at the Nationals, everything needs to come together in the right order, you can’t just count on good legs. In the end, I used my experience to find the right position and when Larsen opened the sprint in the last corner I could jump on his wheel and pass him before the line.”
The 88th different rider in the history of Quick-Step Floors to take a victory, Michael credited teammate Kasper Asgreen with playing a big role in his triumph: “He was really important, especially in the last kilometers. We are working well together and stayed together the whole day. He sacrificed himself and his own chances for me in the closing part of the race, keeping the pace high and closing all the moves, which came in left and right, so a big thank you goes to Kasper for his amazing effort.”
Photo credit: ©Oliver Grenaa Visuals