Sports Round-Up: Cycling champ fears Storebælt like it’s the Bridge of Khazad-dum in ‘Lord of the Rings’

Elsewhere, a Danes is triumphant in the Weber Cup – the Ryder Cup of ten-pin bowling

It sounds like something out of classical mythology or ‘The Lord of the Rings’: the hero’s journey has no alternative; an insurmountable obstacle must be passed to carry on. “You shall not pass!” on the Bridge of Khazad-dum and all that.

Well, for Slovenian cyclist Tadej Pogačar, the winner of the 2021 Tour de France, that insurmountable obstacle is the Storebælt Bridge in Denmark, which the peloton will have to negotiate shortly after the Grand Tour event starts in Copenhagen on 1 July 2022.

Quite scary
The 23-year-old two-time champion intends to make every effort he can to get away from the peloton  on the Korsør stage, so he can tackle the 18 km with a clear road in front, as he fears that being in the middle of the crowd could be stressful.

“Stages 2 and 3 are quite scary, with the possibility of a crosswind. I hope to be in the right place at the right time. I’m excited. I’ll be scared if we get to the bridge and I’m not in position. Then I will probably feel the terror. But if I’m in front, I’ll get adrenaline and excitement,” he told TV2 Sport.

Dane’s time to shine
To reach the comfort of ‘pole position’, he is counting on his teammates in the UAE Emirates team. And with a
Dane on his side, Mikkel Bjerg, he is confident he can get the result he wants

“It’s his field: he’s a big strong guy and he can handle himself in these situations, so I’m really happy to have him in the team,” said Pogačar.

Two time world champ finally joins World Tour outfit
Two time under-23 time trial world champion Johan Price-Pejtersen is leaving the Norwegian Uno X team for the Bahrain Victorious outfit to compete at the highest level of cycling next season, the UCI World Tour. “For me, the team’s project is something I find really exciting and interesting. I am looking forward to being part of the team, as I am sure it is the perfect environment for my personal development,” said the Dane, a two-time European champion in the time trial.

Fuglsang off to Israel Start-Up Nation to get back on track
From the 2022 season, Jakob Fuglsang, 36, will join the Israel Start-Up Nation (ISN) team for three years. He will team up with Chris Froome and two Danes, Nicki Sørensen and Mads Würtz. “I think it’s the right time to try something new. I think I can help [the team] to achieve some of its future goals,” he said. Last season’s Giro di Lombardia was one of the Dane’s biggest wins, but also his last in the Astana jersey, the team he raced with for nine years. Fuglsang’s season this year ended badly when he broke his collarbone and scapula at the Benelux Tour, leaving him without any wins in 2021.

Cyclist quits for the sake of his family
Jesper Hansen has called it quits, according to the Danish team Riwal, for whom Hansen rode this year. The 30-year-old former Saxo-Tinkoff and Cofidis rider had already been planning his retirement for some time. The offer from Riwal had only delayed the inevitable. “I think the time has come. I realised what I could achieve, and then the family started to pull more after I became a father. Now my son is getting to an age when he understands that I’m not there anymore. In the races I can feel that […] I don’t take the big risks I used to when I was young,” he said.

Being part of history without much success
Ice hockey player Jonas Røndbjerg recently became the 15th Dane in history to make his NHL debut, skating for ten and a half minutes for the Vegas Golden Knights against the LA Kings. It was an unsuccessful night, as the 22-year-old’s new team lost 6-2, but Røndbjerg was satisfied. “I think I was very persistent in my work on the ice by playing hard in the right way. I’m going to keep doing that”, the promising Rungsted-trained player told the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Bjorkstrand back to his best
Herning’s favourite son Oliver Bjorkstrand, 26, was named ‘NHL Player of the Game’ after the Columbus Blue Jackets’ spectacular season opener against the Arizona Coyotes. He scored two goals and two assists in a 8-2 win. Last season he scored 18 goals and 26 assists in 56 games. 

NHL pioneer returns to Europe
Frans Nielsen, the first Dane to ever play in the NHL, is returning to Europe to join Eisbären Berlin on a one-year contract. Nielsen, who originally joined the New York Islanders in 2007, notched up 171 goals and 312 assists in 950 NHL games. “When the opportunity to sign Frans arose, we had to take it. He is a top player who adds even more depth to our team,” explained the Berlin side’s sporting director, Stephane Richer, according to DR. Nielsen will join forces with a fellow Dane, Nicholas Jensen.

Danish women’s hopes end in quarters
The Danish women’s badminton side bowed out of the international team tournament the Thomas Cup in the quarter-finals, losing 3-0 to South Korea. Too many mistakes were made against a strong opponent. 

Archer’s new target is her studies
Danish archer Maja Jager, 29, who won a world championship in 2013, is retiring from archery to devote more time to her studies. Most recently she has been  studying bioinformatics and systems biology at DTU. 

When anger takes over
Holger Rune was eliminated in the first round of the recently concluded Indian Wells tournament after losing in two sets to Ernesto Escobedo 4-6, 1-6. He might find that while ‘fuck’ is acceptable in Denmark, it isn’t overly tolerated in Anglophone countries such as the US. Frustrated by his first set, the court could heard him exclaim: “Shit sport, fuck you, man”. According to pundits, the Gentofte-born player was too inconsistent and lacked rhythm. “There were some tennis demons running around in his head,” he said later.

Young Danes come up short
A strong Belgium defeated the Danish under-21s in their recent European Championship qualifying match. Despite wins against Kazakhstan and Scotland, Jesper Sørensen’s troops struggled and did not manage to create chances. Striker Lois Openda scored the winning goal against debutant goalkeeper Filip Jörgensen from an acute angle. Denmark are now second in their group with six points from three games.

A Dane on top of the world
Denmark’s Thomas Larsen was part of the European team that last weekend beat the USA 18-17 in the Weber Cup  – the Ryder Cup of ten-pin bowling. The bowling duel pits the top five bowlers from each continent against each other, and this was Larsen’s second appearance. However, unlike last year, he was on the winning team in the English city of Leicester. 

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