American adventure for former Saxo Bank rider
Alex Rasmussen is planning on becoming one of HTC-Highroad’s most influential riders next season, with Classics and Tour de France firmly in his sights. The Danish track specialist was speaking at last weekend’s Revolution 30 event, in Manchester. He is set to ride the Gent Six this week with fellow Dane Michael Morkov and then will head to California for his first training camp with his new teammates.
The Dane is hoping that his early season form - carried through from his winter on the track - will earn him a place in the HTC-Highroad Spring Classics squad and that if all goes to plan, he’ll make the American team’s Tour de France line-up. Despite several riders leaving the team, he is well aware that the team still posses one of the most qualified set of riders.
“The Tour would be the highlight of my career but I’m also thinking about the Classics,” the versatile Dane told Cyclingnews.
“Every guy on Columbia can win races though and that’s why I’ve gone there. There will be less wins with some of the riders we’ve lost but that’s the same for every team that goes through changes. They go up and up and then they rebuild.
“I’ll start out in Het Volk and then go straight into the major Classics. We don’t have an exact leader so we’re more outsiders but we’ll all have a chance.”
Rasmussen signed for HTC after a spell at Bjarne Riis’ Saxo Bank and almost re-signed for the Danish team for 2011 before HTC made him an offer.
“I assumed I was going to stay at Saxo Bank but then later in the season I put out the feelers and Brian Holm found I was still available. We reached a good agreement and I think they can really use me a lot more than at Saxo Bank, where things will be orientated around Contador, assuming he is there of course.
“It’s better for me to be on team that’s working around someone like Cavendish as I’m more helpful to someone like him.”
With a strong track background, Rasmussen could well be a formidable ally for Cavendish, who will look to bolster his leadout train.
“I could fit in the leadout train but can also do things like prologues. I proved a lot last year so in terms of getting a chance of going to the Tour. I think my chances are bigger on HTC. It’s about Cavendish, the team time trial and the prologue. It’s an opportunity but I have to work a lot.”
Before any racing takes place Rasmussen must fly out to the team’s California base for a ten day training camp, starting on December 5.
“We’ll go to the Specialized centre to get fitted on the bike and then we have seven days in the Agoura Hills for training. It’s going to great to get to know the team. I’ve heard a lot about the camps and they’re hard so I need to be prepared for that.”