'S**t, it's up to me now': Michael Valgren 'saves the day' for Danish Worlds hopes

With a stacked team, much was expected of Denmark, who suffered many misfortunes during the men's road race, but still came up with a bronze medal

Michael Valgren
(Image credit: Getty)

Michael Valgren says he "saved the day" for the Danish, of whom a lot was expected heading into this World Championships, but after a day filled with crashes for the Scandinavians, it was up to one of the less expected members of the squad to bring home a medal.

"We didn't have the best day as a team," Valgren admitted. "We were quite unlucky with a lot of crashes, Mads Pedersen crashed twice, with Andreas Kron and maybe Mikkel crashed too, that’s bike racing. Kasper Asgreen didn't have his best day, Magnus Cort had cramps and it was like 's**t it’s up to me now'. 

"With this medal, I kind of saved the day for the team. Maybe it wasn't the best day for the team, we should have had more guys at the front."

Despite the likes of Magnus Cort and Kasper Asgreen being the more talked about members of the Danish squad in the build-up, Valgren quietly held the belief he could win today.

>>> Tom Pidcock says Belgians made it 'near impossible' for Wout van Aert to win Worlds as Brit rides to impressive sixth

"No, not a miracle," he says of his bronze medal. "I thought I could win today but how Alaphilippe was riding it was impossible. I was just trying to go for the podium. Luckily, Wout van Aert was looking to Mathieu van der Poel and Sonny Colbrelli so when those [other] guys went I bridged across to them and rode for the medals.

"When it was us four guys I knew I had a good chance of getting a medal," he reveals. "Before in the big group I thought I'd be satisfied with a top-10 with all those sprinters. To go all the way with these guys and get a medal, it’s a dream come true."

The 29-year-old says the Flanders parcours suited him, but that even in Imola last year where it didn't he still managed a top-10, as he did in Austria in 2018 when he was sixth.

"This was finally the race that was good for me. Now I'm on the podium, and it was quite nice," he said.

"[It was the] best atmosphere of a race I've ever done," he added. "On the last steep climb you went into this brrrrrrrr," he vibrates into the microphone, recreating the cacophony of the crowd. "That’s what cycling is all about, it’s nice to be back."

The last word is reserved for his former team-mate Chris Anker Sørensen, who sadly passed away the night before this World Championships began.

"Chris was a special guy," Valgren said, paying tribute. "He lived for the bike, he was one of my good friends, he taught me a lot when I was with him. I had him in my mind and when he passed away I wasn't really motivated [for this race].

"And then I thought 'what would Chris do?' You go on, honour racing, do what we love. It’s nice to be here, especially on the podium, because we had a rough week."

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.