– I’m pretty sure we’ll see him on the starting line in Copenhagen on July 1, says TV 2 cycling expert Magnus Drivenes.
The 23-year-old Tromsø boy, who rides on the DSM team, has not ridden a single ride since finishing the Tour de Romandie on May 1. He has spent the past three weeks at a summit in Tenerife. On Sunday, he was on the starting list for the Tour of Switzerland, which many consider the perfect recharge for the Tour de France.
– When he is sent to rally at altitude for three weeks instead of cycling the Tour of Norway at home, it should mean that the DSM has clear plans for him to go to the Tour de France. When you look at the races he’s run this year, they’re exclusively tough WorldTour races.
– In the races he has run, he has often been either the best climber or close to the best. Only Thymen Arensman and Romain Bardet rode better this year, riding the Giro d’Italia. In particular, it was 11th overall in Paris-Nice and the performance on the final stage I think was crucial for Leknessund’s Tour venue, says Drivenes.
Friday 1 July: Watch the Tour de France
TV 2 play
During the Tour of Norway at the end of May, the team’s sporting director, Benny Lambrejtes, confirmed to TV 2 that Leekenesund is on the so-called “long list” for the Tour de France. But DSM holds the cards close to his chest and the main character himself cannot confirm anything.
“The team hasn’t been taken out, but I hope at least I’ll be in good shape this summer, and then we’ll see where I can use it,” says Leknessund with a smile on his face.
– What does this opportunity mean to you?
– First of all, it meant that I had three difficult weeks ahead of me. But it is clear. It was fat. This is something that should be on your resume so that you can call yourself the right cycling professional.
One of four Norwegians for the tour?
Leknessund has always been considered one of the greatest talents in Norwegian cycling. Prior to the 2021 season, he left Uno-X in favor of DSM.
Leknessund winning the Tour de France shows how much they believe in him. Last year’s season was tough at times, but he showed glimpses of what he’s good at. He may have ridden at a lower level and been involved in the fight at a higher level in the results roster, but he was really good at the races he ran. I hope he enters the race with slightly lower shoulders, at the same time being offensive and taking the chances he gets. Drevnis thinks it’s so important to his development that he now gets a three-week ride up his legs.
From a cabin – at an altitude of 2,000 meters in Tenerife – Leknessund dares to answer for the goal he has set for himself if he gets a spot on the team for a big adventure this summer.
– It may sound like a “toilet”, but it must be implemented.
However, the TV 2 cycling expert is aiming higher, even though we’re talking about the first ride.
– He was both the best climbers and the best runners in the DSM at the Giro d’Italia. There is a good chance that Leknessund will get a free role on the tour. It can probably be very difficult to assert himself in the summary, but Leknessund is certainly capable of contending for stage wins in difficult breakout stages. He has great driving force and good ability, but he lacks some experience in such situations at this level.
In this case, this could mean that there will be four Norwegian riders in the Tour de France. Alexander Kristof seems confident somewhere. In the same class, the Emirati professional may be Figard Steak Langen. Edvald Boasson-Hagen likely isn’t sure about the card, but he has this in his plans.
down from the top
Tomorrow, Leknessund leaves the Spanish holiday island with a route to Switzerland and eight stages offering different terrain. All over Switzerland was undoubtedly the most important event for the strong jockey last year. There he was due to be a co-rider for Tiesj Benoot, but he was better than him on many of the toughest stages, and had to wait for him by order of the team. Prior to the final stage, he was No. 14 in the summary and rode in the youth jersey, but instead of defending himself to honorable position, he was part of the DSM offensive team that attacked with three riders and all went to climb the rosters. Headwinds and teams that did their best to defend the top ten made it difficult to stay away.
– It’s a trip that suits me well. I did really well here last year and I hope to do well at least this year. There are challenging stages, but fortunately the mountains are not as steep as, for example, the Basque Country, where they go up straight.
Did you miss cycling – after a six-week break?
– It was really nice to take some time off the ride, but I’m looking forward to getting started. He says it would be a good idea to get me off the mountain, at the same time he washes the dishes after breakfast in the cabin where many of the DSM riders have recently spent time.
– There is a hotel here where many riders from other teams live. We chose to stay in a cabin of a very simple standard. It was really delicious. There’s not much to do here, so we’re training well. It is usually a 4 to 5 hour trek every day and is 4000m altitude.
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