Keeping a watchful eye

Although retired for the past five years, Denmark's Rolf Sörensen is still deeply involved with the...

An interview with Rolf Sörensen, April 28, 2006

Although retired for the past five years, Denmark's Rolf Sörensen is still deeply involved with the sport, being a rider agent and co-commentator for Danish television's cycling broadcasts. Winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 1993, Sörensen took time out to speak with Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwé about that race and what's on his plate right now.

Frank Schleck is a name quite familiar to Rolf Sörensen; the winner of Amstel Gold Race is one of his ‘poulains’, with Sörensen working as the Luxemburg rider's personal manager. “The victory of Frank Schleck in Amstel Gold Race didn’t come as a surprise to me," says Sörensen. "His last training sessions before the race were very impressive, and the crash he had in the Vuelta a Pais Vasco had no big influence on his fitness level. Of course, if the crash would’ve been worse, he couldn’t win the Amstel Gold Rac," he points out.

"Last year, Frank [Schleck] had a list of good results that made him a more experienced rider," continues the Dane, pointing out that success wasn't too far around the corner. "Since then he's been convinced he could win a classic one day; he knew he had to become a team leader in some races. In the Amstel Gold Race, I saw that he was going to win by the way he was moving in the group. He had chosen a perfect moment to attack - you couldn’t time it any better. When Bettini was in the attack with Wesemann, Schleck didn’t panic; it all proves he has great tactical skills."

Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Rolf Sörensen was a specialist of “la doyenne”, winning the race in 1993. In 1995 he also took fifth behind four-time winner Moreno Argentin and local hero Claude Criquielion. His insight into the race, therefore, is better than most. “It’s true to say it’s a bit 'my race', I liked it very much," he says. "That is, for the first ten years of my career. Afterwards I tried to be stronger in Flanders and Paris-Roubaix."

'My mate Bjarne'

Sörensen and Team CSC manager Bjarne Riis are often seen together, so we ask Sörensen about their connection “Bjärne Riis is a good friend; we rode in the same team for some years so we’ve spent a lot of time together," he says. "He is doing a great job with Team CSC; it’s getting stronger each year. Last year, the team was very strong in the early season - this year, the team was in form later on. That’s because the team has set itself two clear goals: the classics and the grand tours. With Paris-Roubaix [which Cancellara won] and the Amstel Gold Race [which Frank Schleck won] things are going more than smoothly for them.”

A&J

What is Rolf Sörensen doing these days, after his career as a rider? “Besides some cycling commentating on Danish television, I’m working for the A&J company; we’re taking care of rider’s affairs," he explains. "I’m the manager of some really good ‘products’ like [Juan Antonio] Flecha, Frank Schleck, [Magnus] Backstedt and [Kim] Kirchen; besides those guys there are also a lot of Danish prospects like Sörensen, Vandborg, Breschel, Pedersen and Christensen," he says

"There is one other rider that will kick ass in the near future...Riccardo Ricco is the name – they say he’s even better than Damiano Cunego … and that means a lot.” Ricco won this year’s fifth stage in the Settimana Internazionale di Coppi & Bartoli, where he beat a certain Paolo Bettini in the sprint," says Sörensen, and for this old hand to be that enthusiastic, fans better keep their eyes out for him.

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