Finishing second in the Worlds road race last fall left a bitter taste in Matti Breschel's mouth. “The preparation was not optimal, and I have only myself to blame for the medal,” he said.
Breschel did not ride the Vuelta a España, as he would have liked, so he had to train without being able to gauge his against that of his competitors. Still, he had the best possible support from his Danish teammates at the race in Geelong.
"The last mile was hectic. It was hard to keep track of anything,” he told sporten.dk. “The Danes were the only ones in the majority, and the others could see that, so there was pressure all around." Chris Anker Sørensen “rode like a motorcycle”, according to Breschel, while Anders Lund “was allowed to save himself for the last 500 meters, where he could open up the sprint for me.”
Things went so well in the finale that Breschel declared himself the winner, albeit too early. “At 100 metres I thought, 'Now I have won. I am world champion.' So it was a huge pill to swallow when the great Norwegian (Thor Hushovd) managed to pass by. It was so close and yet so far.”
Surprisingly, the Dane had only two wins all season: Dwars door Vlaanderen and a stage at the Tour of Denmark. Those, combined with his silver medal, were enough for him to claim Denmark's cyclist of the year title. “The recognition made me happy and proud, but my feelings are still mixed, because I am riding to win races.”
He did not finish the Giro di Lombardia, his last race for Team Saxo Bank, after six years with the team. Before joining Rabobank this year, however, he underwent knee surgery, which may or may not keep him out of the Spring Classics.