Opening Weekend is around the corner and Michael Valgren, it seems, is ready. The Dane caught the eye at the Volta ao Algarve with a strong showing on the summit finish at Alto da Fóia on stage 2, though he preferred to focus on the training and racing miles logged through the winter months.
"I just know that I did my homework in December and January – and in February too – so I know I’ve trained enough. I just need to find the freshness in the legs and be lucky. I know I’m pretty good," Valgren told Cyclingnews in Faro.
"But last year, I wasn’t feeling great in Ruta del Sol and then the next week I won on the Opening Weekend, so I don’t really compare too closely from year to year, because sensations can change in a week."
A year ago, Valgren’s triumph at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad heralded the beginning of a break-out Spring campaign. He would go on to win Amstel Gold Race and his wide body of work also included fourth place at the Tour of Flanders and a competitive display at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, a race he won twice as an under-23. Seventh place on the demanding Innsbruck World Championships circuit in September was a further indication of his dexterity.
Dimension Data switch
Valgren’s race programme in 2019 is familiar – he started his campaign at the Tour Down Under for the fifth time in six years – but his environment is a new one. He was Dimension Data’s marquee signing for 2019, and with a new team comes a new role. At Astana, Valgren had some freedom; at Dimension Data carries the responsibility of outright leadership in the Classics.