This season, Andreas Leknessund added his name to what is now an ever-growing list of riders taking the step from Norwegian ProTeam Uno-X to the WorldTour level.
The 22-year-old Norwegian followed his compatriot Tobias Foss – who had jumped to Jumbo-Visma in 2020 – by switching to Team DSM, where he'll be joined by two more Uno-X graduates next year in Jonas Hvideberg and Frederik Rodenberg.
Having won the Giro della Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia and Norway's elite time trial title last year, Leknessund marked himself as one to watch as he stepped up to cycling's top tier. 2021 has been a transitional year for him, though top results included 10th at Brabantse Pijl, seventh at the Arctic Race of Norway and third and fourth at the Nationals as well as an Olympic Games debut in Tokyo.
Cyclingnews caught up with Leknessund at the Arctic Race, where he was representing the Norwegian national team, to find out more about him as a rider.
Cyclingnews: Your first year in the WorldTour peloton is almost over – how has the experience been so far?
Andreas Leknessund: It has a been a lot of new experiences. The WorldTour is for sure more challenging than the previous years at the ProConti and U23 levels were for me. And also yes I did the Olympics which was really nice.
CN: What have you felt is the difference and how have you progressed since taking the step up to the pros?
AL: I feel like I have taken steps during the year, not only physically but also technically and just to handle the level. It's been challenging but also a good year. So I can say that I think I'm improving and I think that as I come to the end of this season it has been a good one.
CN: And are you looking ahead to next season? What goals do you have?
AL: It will be interesting to see the progression after the winter. It's hard to say about goals but I want to improve my general level, and not be too focused on specific goals. The aim is just to grow and take the next steps in physical terms and taken a direction later. We'll see which direction I'll go and which type of rider I can be.
CN: For those who don't know much about you, how would you describe yourself as a rider?
AL: So far, I'm not sure what category I can classify myself in. I think I'm maybe an all-rounder, but what I really like is to ride aggressively, to be attacking, to go in the breakaways. Maybe that suits me the best as well. So, on a tougher stage, for example, with some hills and where the attacks start far from the finish and it's a bit more chaotic, that suits me the best. That is how I enjoy racing the most.
CN: Do you have certain goals in mind for your career? Any dream races?
AL: I think that maybe the Ardennes Classics can be good for me and how I ride. Also, I'd like to be good in the longer climbs. And then there's the time trials. We'll see if GC riding is possible one day but for now, I'm thinking more like the Ardennes Classics with those shorter climbs.
CN: We have read the news about several riders trying to leave DSM before the end of their contract and your name has been among some of the reports. What is your response to these reports or rumours?
AL: The rumours – I think some things have been taken out of context. I had confirmed things on Twitter. I enjoy the team. We haven't performed as we hoped for much of the year - that's no secret - but still I think we're doing good work.
Also, the people are nice and we're doing some good stuff. I think I'm taking the steps that I want to so far, and I will be here for two years.
Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content on Cyclingnews and takes on live race text coverage throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Tro-Bro Léon, Strade Bianche, and the Vuelta a España.
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