Culture

PYSO, ep. 51: NTT Pro Cycling’s Michael Valgren reflects on the positives of being locked down

The Danish rider talks about improving his one-minute efforts, spending time with his young family, and finding a routine.

A novelty at first, six weeks of lockdown has taken its toll on all athletes. With the easing of restrictions now beginning, we check in with NTT Pro Cycling’s Michael Valgren to see how he’s been holding up after months of uncertainty and how he’s planning on moving forward with the new UCI calendar just announced.

A quick primer on Valgren, for those of you who don’t know him: After turning pro at the tender age of 21, the Danish rider quickly won consecutive U23 Liège–Bastogne–Liège editions, establishing himself as a rider to watch in the future.

Fast forward to 2018, and Valgren came of age, winning Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the monument Amstel Gold Race as well as finishing fourth at the Tour of Flanders.

Following that break-out year, where he moved from a strongman to team leader, Valgren transferred to his current team, NTT (formerly Dimension Data), in one of the most anticipated moves for the season. Plagued by bad form and a series of setbacks, 2019 was a winless one.

With 2020 a chance to redeem an “un-Valgren-esque” 2019, it seems the COVID-19 situation has delayed his chances of getting even in his favorite classics.