Two days in Tuscany is a pretty sweet deal for anyone. But how about two…
Anyone who followed cycling in 2021 knows that Michael Valgren had a special year. Not only did the 29-year-old represent Denmark at the Olympics, but he also made his country proud when he finished third at the World Championships.
And right before all of that occured, he had two incredible days of racing in Tuscany where he racked up two stunning victories. He was the first Danish winner of the Giro della Toscana and carried that winning momentum with him to the Coppa Sabatini.
“One just wasn’t enough, huh?” said his teammate Ruben Guerreiro at the finish. Pulling off back-to-back wins in Tuscany is no easy feat, but not everyone has the racing skills and commitment to teamwork quite like Valgren. Once he saw how riders like Neilson Powless, Rigoberto Urán, and Ruben Guerreiro were setting him up for major success, the only option was to cross that line first.
“I dedicate those victories to the whole team,” said the Dane after his stretch of good fortune in Tuscany.
Those two days set him up beautifully for the rest of the season and catapulted his confidence. Valgren hadn’t seen success like that since 2018 after he won both the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Amstel Gold Race.
Clearly good things come in twos for this rider, so his second year with this team should be a good one. So we thought we’d ask him about his best moments in his very first (and unforgettable) year with the team. More from Michael himself below:
1. The Tour de France
The Tour de France was definitely a big moment for me. It was my best Tour de France yet in terms of how I raced and how much fun I had. I’ve done seven already, so I know what I’m talking about. It was such a special group, from the staff to the riders. I actually really enjoyed the Tour for once. It’s normally so hectic! We didn’t get what we came for, but we did so well until the very end. We were so close. That being said, I wouldn’t have done anything differently.
2. Double victory in Tuscany
My two days in Italy were just of course really nice for myself and I got very nice results, but there was just perfect racing from the whole team. From the tactics and team meetings, everything was so great. Matti Breschel encouraged us to race hard and aggressively. Those were some of the best days of my cycling career.
3. Another year with EF
My contract extension is the third! I only came here on a one-year deal and I really wanted to stay here. I signed on during the Dauphine, before I had any really big results this year, so it was really encouraging that the team trusted me without me even winning yet. So that was a big self confidence boost for the rest of the reason.