Andy Schleck: Chris Anker Sørensen was a role model and a friend

Luxembourger pays tribute to his late teammate

(Image credit: Getty)

Andy Schleck has paid tribute to Chris Anker Sørensen after his former teammate and friend was killed while cycling on Saturday.

Sørensen was riding in Belgium ahead of the World Championships, where he was due to work for Danish television. The former pro rider turned 37 earlier this month.

Both Sørensen and Schleck rode together as part of Bjarne Riis’ CSC and Saxo Bank teams in the mid-2000s, with the Dane becoming one of the most reliable team domestiques in the sport. His ability as a pure climber was rewarded with a hugely impressive stage win in Terminillo at the 2010 Giro d’Italia, but it was a domestique that Sørensen truly excelled.

Speaking from his home in Luxembourg, Schleck recalled Sørensen’s qualities as a rider, a teammate and friend.

“I just don’t know what to say. I got a message yesterday and it just hit me so hard,” Schleck told Cyclingnews.

“It was only at the Tour that we were having a coffee together in Andorra. He was living life, riding a lot and cycling was his religion. You won’t find anyone in the sport with a bad word to say about him. He was just a great man and a great friend. This is a huge loss for all of cycling. He started as a fan, he lived his dream as a rider and the stayed in the sport because he wanted to give something back. As I said, he was a role model. My heart goes out to his family, his children and everyone who was lucky enough to be influenced by him.”

Sørensen moved into the top ranks of the sport with CSC Pro team in 2007. By that point Schleck was already competing for honours in Grand Tours and one-day races but the pair forged a strong alliance with the Dane, relocating to Luxembourg alongside countryman and teammate Lars Bak. During that period Sørensen and Schleck formed a bond on and off the bike that lasted well into their retirement.

“We rode together for six years and aIl I can say is that he was a role model teammate,” Schleck added.

“He was a rider who put aside his own ambitions when it came to results and always but the team first. He was the perfect teammate. He knew that he had good qualities as a climber, he was a pure climber, but he put all his energies into helping his friends and teammates.

“I was quite close with him because he lived in Luxembourg for a while with Lars Bak and we used to train a lot together. He’d just turned pro so wasn’t quite at the top level. He was young and I always remember that we’d do these huge training sessions together. I was winning races at the time so these sessions were long and really hard and at the end of each ride Chris would be in a lot of difficulty. At times I didn’t think he’d make it home but each morning I’d come down for another session and there he was, on his bike with that infectious smile and ready to go again. I always admired that, his fighting spirit and determination.

“I remember when he won his incredible stage at the Giro d’Italia in 2010. I was at the Tour of California at the time and Matti Breschel and I were rooming together and watching it on TV and we were just blown away by how he was climbing and then taking that amazing win in the race.”

All of the Cyclingnews team extends of our deepest sympathies to Chris Anker Sørensen's family, friends, former teammates and colleagues.

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