Asgreen excited for Tour de France debut after Danish TT win

Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) will take another confidence boost into his debut Tour de France next week after winning the Danish time trial title Thursday in Esbjerg.

The 24-year-old's early season results during his first full year with the Belgian super team, including second at the Tour of Flanders and third overall at the Tour of California, paved his way to the Grand Boucle as Quickstep opted to leave a rider of Philippe Gilbert's caliber at home.

"It’s been a great period, with a strong nine days in [Tour de] Suisse, getting selected for Le Tour and now becoming national champion," Asgreen said. "I am taking advantage of a great shape at the moment, and I hope it continues through the Tour."

Asgreen's surprise runner-up result in Flanders led to a run of form that saw him win the high-altitude stage to South Lake Tahoe at the Tour of California, where he finished third overall and won the points jersey. He returned to Europe and continued to ride well at Suisse, where he was fifth in the opening time trial, fourth on stage 2 – taking the race lead for a day – and second in the 19.2km stage 8 race against the clock. 

Asgreen confirmed his form again Thursday with his first-ever Danish championship after finishing fourth last year.

"It’s a really awesome feeling and I’m extremely proud," he said. "In the last three years I was third, second and fourth at the time trial nationals, so I have been missing that top step, and I’m proud that I’m there now. It is really special to take that jersey to France for my first Tour."

Asgreen covered the 39.8km course in 46:03, 24 seconds better than defending champion Martin Toft Madsen (BHS-Almeborg-Bornholm) and 45 seconds quicker than Johan Price-Pejtersen (ColoQuick).

"It was quite a long time trial, but I had a good shape after Suisse and the legs felt good," he said. "The first half we had a tailwind, and I had to pace myself and not go too hard before racing full gas in the second part, knowing I could make the difference there.

"The course was very nice – some big roads where I could lay down the power and some corners that weren’t very technical – and if you knew them, you could take them at full speed."

The Tour de France begins Saturday, July 6, in Brussels and concludes Sunday, July 28, on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

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