When Michael Mørkøv first became a professional on the road with Team Saxo Bank in 2009, he was a smart guy with a track background, remembers then-teammate and Bobby & Jens co-host Jens Voigt, but it wasn’t quite clear where he would fit into the team. Fast forward to 2021 and the Dane is the premier lead-out rider in the pro peloton and a key ingredient behind Mark Cavendish’s incredible run at the 2021 Tour de France. “To see him rise to where he is now in the sport of cycling, it could not have happened to a better person,” says co-host Bobby Julich, another former teammate.
Indeed, from Bobby and Jens’s discussion with Michael — who was generous enough to take some of his precious free time during the Tour’s second rest day for this interview — we got the sense of how humble and hardworking the Danish rider is, and the essential characteristics for someone whose job is to be the best at helping other people win.
And there are a lot of people he has helped win including stars like Marcel Kittel, Sam Bennett, Elia Viviani, and now Mark Cavendish. In his career, he has shown remarkable consistency regardless of who is on his wheel. But it didn’t come easily.
“It’s so fragile, the difference between winning and losing,” says Michael about being a lead-out rider. But that’s what keeps him motivated, the possibility of success that comes with the risk of taking the wrong line and messing it up for his sprinter. And that narrow line between success and failure leads him to prepare in-depth for every sprint stage.
That preparation has played no small part in Mark Cavendish’s return to his winning ways at the Tour, where he has won four stages and could break Eddy Merckx’s all-time stage win record. It’s a return to form so unexpected that Michael noted that Cavendish wasn’t even included as an alternate in the collectible Panini Tour de France rider stickers for this year’s race.
Michael also discusses his Deceuninck-Quick-Step team’s success at this year’s race, his background in the sport, and his goals for the Olympics and the rest of the year. It’s a can’t-miss interview providing an insider’s perspective on Mark Cavendish’s incredible 2021 Tour and more.
“Bobby & Jens” is a weekly VeloNews podcast brought to you by Zwift. It stars former pros Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt and features conversations with top athletes, coaches, emerging stars, and other newsmakers from the wide world of cycling. A new episode drops every Friday. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.