Once compared to Alberto Contador by his then team manager Bjarne Riis, Danish talent Anthon Charmig, now with Uno-X, might have launched his career as a GC rider at the Tour of Turkey where he came close to winning the queen stage. Alone in the lead in the last 1.5km, he got caught only 300 metres before the summit of Gögübeli.
"I made a bit of an inexperienced move just to go all out," the 23-year-old told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 6 in Fethiye. "I learnt my lesson. Next time I'll be a bit smarter. I knew about the headwind and the gradients but it surprised me a bit. I went a bit too deep on my attack. There was nothing left at the end. I became too enthusiastic because I felt really good. It was my first real climbing stage. I saw a few Astana and other WorldTour riders dropping off.
"You don't have so many mountains in Denmark so it's nice to be here in Turkey and find some climbs for racing," Charmig continued. "I hope to develop more as a GC rider. I'm with Uno-X this year so I have a lot of great races to become a very good climber one day. The team is performing on all terrains, whether it's in Turkey or in Belgium. The spirit is great, too."
Charmig was only 18 when he first turned pro with Véloconcept, a team run by Riis who introduced him this way at the team presentation in Vejle in February 2017: "When I look at him, he reminds me of Alberto. I can see he's got an enormous potential to become a really great rider. He needs to be protected because he's only 18. It's going to be cool to work with such a talent."
Véloconcept, later renamed Team Virtu, was short-lived but several of its members have joined the WorldTour since - Kasper Asgreen, Michael Carbel, Niklas Eg, and Alexander Kamp. Charmig hasn't followed the same trajectory, having temporarily quit cycling for a year and a half with health problems before returning to the sport in late 2019.
Continental racing isn't exactly the place to develop as a climber, however, since too many teams of the same category and from the same country fight for entries to the same races, but a move from ColoQuick to Pro Continental Norwegian outfit Uno-X seems to be the right choice for Charmig.
His second place at the U23 European Championship behind Norway's Jonas Hvideberg in Plouay, France, last summer was a restart of his international career. "I'm from 1998," he recalled in Turkey. "I've raced in juniors with guys like Tadej Pogačar and Marc Hirschi. I was able to challenge them back then so I hope to do that someday again."
The year 1998 is famous in cycling for the Festina affair – and a few more – but it's also the year of birth for a handful of past, present and future super talents from UAE Team Emirates: Pogačar, Hirschi, Brandon McNulty, Mikkel Bjerg, Jasper Philipsen, and João Almeida. As a first-year junior, Charmig was the winner of Trophée Centre-Morbihan in France (Nation Cup), second of Aubel-Thimister-La Gleize in Belgium, third in the Tour de Pays de Vaud (behind Adrien Costa and Gino Mäder), in the races that count in the U19 ranks.
Charmig has another role model than the champions of his age: "Jakob Fuglsang showed that even though you come from flat Denmark you can be a great climber," warned the young man from Aarhus, who still introduced in his country as a "stortalent" (big talent). He might not be on the same timing as Pogačar and Co and more on the career profile of Fuglsang, who emerged from the Continental ranks past the age of 23.
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