Bak, Mørkøv pay tribute to enthusiastic crowds
Having lost Matti Breschel through injury the Danish men's team came into the Worlds road race without a main contender. Despite missing last year's silver medallist, the home nation put in an aggressive display, firing off several threatening attacks that had both the sprinters worried and the supporters entertained.
Lars Bak was the first Danish rider to make a significant gap, breaking away from the bunch in pursuit of the remnants from two early breaks. The HTC-Highroad rider was brought back by the British team before the final lap.
"I honestly thought that we rode the right race, just as we had planned it, but you knew with the wind and weather that we had today that it would be a bunch sprint. The British team rode a fantastic race, and Mark deserves his win every bit," Bak said at the finish, paying tribute to his teammate.
"We missed Matti [Breschel] today," he added. "We have a very strong team, and Michael Mørkøv, me and the others did everything we could, but we really missed Matti today."
"I have never heard this much noise before, it was an inferno of noise. It was almost as if my entire head was shaking, when I drove up the finishing stretch. I've never tried any think like it. It was really crazy out there. I am happy to have been a part of it," he said
Although Bak was reined in, his aggression sparked a number of attacks from the front bunch. The next to try his luck was Thomas Voeckler (France). Glued to his wheel were Denmark's Nicki Sørensen and Belgium's Klaas Lodewijk.
"I wanted to leave my mark on the race, and when we got clear of the pack, I initially thought that they had us under control, because there was only the three of us.
"It might even have been a good situation for the others, because there was only the three of us out there, but when we crossed Slotsbakken (the last hill before the finishing stretch), I actually started believing that things could get exciting," he said.
"It was an amazing feeling being out there today. I thought it was crazy," he said.
Once again the move was nullified, with Germany and Australia pitching in with the British team's effort to set up a sprint.
Into the final 500 meters and Michael Mørkøv, substitute sprinter for Breschel, did what he could and crossed the line in 18th. However he wasn't too disappointed with his ride, and like his teammates paid tribute to the crowds.
"It was fantastic, it was an amazing experience," Mørkøv reflected. "I know full well that I'm never going to experience anything bigger than this. My name has been called out so many times today on the course. Entering the finishing stretch and seeing the hill packed with people isn't something you see every day, usually it's packed with cars."
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