Despite being known as a pure climber, Chris Anker Sørensen (Tinkoff-Saxo) came out on top in the Danish road race championships despite his home country having no major climbs. He surprisingly beat Martin Mortensen (Cult) in a two-rider sprint while Alexander Kamp (Coloquick) completed the podium.
Denmark has had lots of strong climbers but as the country is almost completely flat, they have rarely had a chance to win their national road race championships. Hence, no one had really mentioned Chris Anker Sørensen (Tinkoff-Saxo) as a possible winner of today’s championships race as he usually excels in the high mountains.
However, the Dane took his first victory since 2010 when he surprisingly beat Martin Mortensen in a 2-rider sprint after a very hard race that had left everyone on their limit. With strong teammates behind him, he could stay on the wheel of his companion in the finale and that left him with enough power to win the sprint.
The race was held on a hilly 13.9km circuit around the city of Rønde that they would cover 15 times for a total distance of 209km. The circuit included a small climb and an uphill drag to the finish line.
The opening part of the race was dominated by a breakaway with Michael Reihs (CULT Energy Pro Cycling), Martin Grøn (Riwal Platform Cycling Team), Rolf Nyborg Broge (Team coloQuick), Emil Vinjebo (TREFOR-Blue Water), Jesper Hansen (Randers), Eskil Vammen (WeBike), Nicolaj Steen (Jutlander) and Lasse Mortensgaard (Team ABC Elite) and they would get an advantage of more than 9 minutes before the peloton started to chase. However, Tinkoff-Saxo started to play with the mucles with around 130km to go when a chase group with Chris Anker Sørensen, Christopher Juul Jensen, Michael Mørkøv (Tinkoff-Saxo), Michael Carbel, Rasmus Quaade (CULT Energy Pro Cycling), Lasse Norman Hansen (Cannondale-Garmin), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Magnus Cort (Orica-GreenEDGE), Nicolai Brøchner (Riwal Platform), Alexander Kamp, Rune Almindsø (ColoQuick), Asbjørn Kragh Andersen and Patrick Clausen (Team TREFOR-Blue Water) was formed and they were later joined by Michael Valgren (Tinkoff-Saxo), Mortensen, Rasmus Guldhammer, Troels Vinther (Cult), Morten Gadgaard (Champion System), Jonas Aaen, Rasmus Mygind (Riwal), Christian Moberg, Mads Würtz (ColoQuick), Søren Kragh (Trefor), Frederik Zeuner (Herning), Mads Pedersen (CULT), Emil Bækhøj (Riwal), Mathias Dam Westergaard (Almeborg Bornholm) and Daniel Foder (TREFOR-Blue Water). to form the group that would ultimately decide the race.
No one was able to control the race that turned out to be an attacking affair with constantly changing race situations. That made it a bit of a gamble about which groups to follow and made it a race of attrition.
The early break was caught with 40km to go and after many attacks, it was a group with Chris Anker Sørensen, Valgren, Carbel, Mortensen, Fuglsang, Vinther, Cort, Würtz Schmidt, Kamp, Vinjebo and Asbjørn Kragh Andersen that formed. Kamp attacked and would start the final lap with a 16-rider advantage but he was brought back with 8km to go.
Valgren, Fuglsang, Mortensen, Kamp, Cort, Carbel, Vinther and Sørensen were the only riders left as they entered the final 5km. Here Mortensen and Sørensen got clear but with Valgren in the chase group, Sørensen quickly stopped doing any work. That made it possible for him to save enough energy to win the two-rider sprint with a powerful late surge while Kamp won the sprint for third 10 seconds later.
Sørensen is unlikely to be selected for the Tour de France and so will probably wear his jersey for the first time at the Tour of Austria. He may also get the chance to show his new colours on home soil at the Tour of Denmark in August.
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