Saxo Bank’s Jakob Fuglsang proved as good as his word on Vuelta a España’s stage 14, telling Cyclingnews beforehand that he was going to ride aggressively and try to get clear. So it proved, with the Dane forging ahead with eight others and ultimately placing second on the stage.
“I will try to get in the breakaways. That is how we [Saxo Bank] are going to try to do it from now on,” he said. “We have nobody left for the overall and I think with the riders we have left in the race and also with my own condition, our chance is in those moves.”
The 24-year-old former mountain bike rider sealed Saxo Bank’s attention when he won the Tour of Denmark last year. He defended his title again this season, as well as winning the Tour of Slovenia. However one of his most notable results came in the Dauphiné Libéré, where he placed fifth on the stage to Mont Ventoux and sixth overall, matching his final general classification position in the Volta a Catalunya.
That ride prompted his Saxo Bank team management to say that it had wished it had selected him for the Tour de France team. It had already been finalised at that point and so he’d end up making his Grand Tour debut in the Vuelta.
It’s turned out to be probably more difficult than he anticipated. “I’ve been suffering a lot in the past few days,” he admitted. “It has been really, really hard. But hopefully it is going better. I feel a little bit stronger today than I did yesterday. We will see. I think the stages after today are going to be easier.
“I will try to go for a stage win but there are not many stages left for me. I’ll try though, if I think I can do it,” he added.
After the wheels stop turning in Madrid on Sunday, he’ll head to Mendrisio and the venue of this year’s International Cycling Union (UCI) World Road Championship. He finished second to Damiano Cunego (Lampre) on stage 14, conceding two minutes and 23 seconds on the hard drag up to the line, and may well be up against the Lampre rider in the elite championship.
He’s hoping that one of the team can snag a second medal in as many years. “I will do the worlds,” he confirmed. “We will see how it goes. I think we will have a good team. Matti [Breschel] took the bronze last year and I think he will be strong there this year.
“From the beginning, he is going to be the leader,” he added. “But of course it will depend on who is going well on the day. It is going to be such a difficult race, such a hard race, so if you don’t have a good day you won’t survive.”
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