Chris Anker Sørensen claimed the fifth win of his pro career at the top of the Terminillo in the Giro d’Italia on Sunday and confirmed the reputation he had established with victory on the queen stage of the Dauphiné Libéré two years ago in La Toussuire. Last year he made his debut at the Tour de France at the service of the Schleck brothers.
“I’m really, really happy,” Sørensen said moments after winning at the top of the mountain closest to the Italian capital of Rome. “It’s a great victory. This is the first mountain stage of the Giro, which is one of the biggest races in the world. Seven weeks ago I broke my right collarbone, so I wasn’t sure to be here for the Giro. It’s an incredible comeback.”
Sørensen was victim of a crash during stage six of the Volta Catalunya. That day he said: “I hope for a miracle to let me be able to ride the Giro.” The miracle happened. The 25 year-old Dane was also smart enough to save some energy for the first uphill finish.
“I came to this stage fresher than other guys because I took it easy yesterday,” he admitted.
At Saxo Bank, Richie Porte has surprisingly taken on the task of riding for the Giro's general classification. The Australian moved up to sixth position at the Terminillo after David Millar (Garmin-Transitions), Vladimir Karpets (Katusha), and Milram's Linus Gerdemann and Thomas Rohregger were unable to stay with the favourites on the final climb.
Since his stage win at the Dauphiné, Sørensen has acquired a lot of experience in his role as a domestique in the mountains of the Tour de France, but it doesn’t mean he has given up his personal ambitions. Two years ago, he was regarded as Denmark’s new climbing sensation but asked reporters not to make any comparison with his compatriot Michael Rasmussen because he had a very different view of his sport than the famous “Chicken”, who had been kicked out of the 2007 Tour de France.
In the meantime, Jakob Fuglsang has attracted more headlines than Sørensen. “He’s a really great climber and there are other talented riders coming up from Denmark,” said the Terminillo stage winner. “It’s a good sign. Fuglsang is a greater talent than me and he time trials better as well. I’m convinced that Bjarne Riis will find another sponsor and we’ll be able to put together a team that will provide Danish cycling with another winner at the Tour de France and a first at the Giro d’Italia.”
Riis is rumoured to be close to announcing the arrival of a new sponsor for the team. Sørensen is already contracted to the squad for the next two years, but Fuglsang, whose current contract is due to expire at the end of this year, is being courted by other teams.