Yesterday, Kasper Asgreen (Soudal Quick-Step) won the mountain classification at Volta ao Algarve, and now we launch an interview with the top Danish rider, one of the figures of the Soudal Quick-Step team. Right before the Figueira Champions Classic, Asgreen already showed big ambitions for 2023, after a year of 2022 where he ended his season previously than expected, with a lot of complications.
In this interview, Asgreen showed his ambitions to perform at his better level at the Classics, where he is usually one of the strongest, with one Ronde van Vlaanderen victory against Mathieu van der Poel, but also to be in the Tour de France and the World Championships. There was still time to talk about António Morgado, who was in one of the team camps in December. You can also “Get to Know” a bit more about Kasper, as you don’t see every day.
Ciclismo Mundial (CM) – You ended last season in Tour de France. How did you prepare for the start of this new season with that difficult ending in the previous one?
Kasper Asgreen (KA) – My winter has been too different from the previous years, I was able to finish my rehabilitation before I had to start the winter training, so I restarted my training as I normally do around the 1st of November, and it’s been a terrible winter for me after not racing and not training for so long. You start from a big further back, so it’s been hard to fill up because I had to catch up on it.
CM – You’ve started already the season in Challenge Mallorca. What are your aspirations here for the Figueira Champions Classic?
KA – For Figueira, I started looking at the course today and I think it’s a really nice course with a hard climb. This is going to end in a sprint, but it feels like good aggressive racing, which I really like. I’m looking forward to race and participate in the fight for the victory.
CM – So, do you believe that Figueira will be a good preparation for the main goals in this initial phase of the season?
KA – Yes, for sure. I guess it’s a really hard course and has also a nice distance (190km). It’s not too short and you can use it for preparation for the races that will come up, so I’m really happy we could race in this classic.
CM – You won the Time Trial in Volta ao Algarve in 2021. Do you hope to do the same this year next week?
KA – Yes. In 2021, it was a really nice Volta ao Algarve. Unfortunately, in 2022 we had COVID-19 just before the race, so it wasn’t easy. Fortunately, I had no problems, but I hope I have an Algarve like the one I had in 2021. When you’re in shape, it’s a really nice faith. The race courses are superb and super demanding and that’s important for me to prove that I’m in shape for the next races. I’m hoping for a good hard week.
CM – After Algarve, a few weeks later, you’ll start the Spring Classics. What can be expected from Kasper?
KA – First of all, I hope to be back to be one of the strongest riders in the field. For the moment, it looks like things are on track. After Paris-Nice, I should reach my peak shape. I hope as a team we can perform better than we did last year when we had a lot of injuries and a lot of illnesses that took us down on the back foot. If we stay clear of that, we have a team that can make big differences in the races in Belgium. When we have a team like that, and in those races that are the best in the world, it’s just super fun. I’ve always enjoyed that.
CM – For the rest of the season, what will be your goals? Tour de France, World Championships…?
KA – Exactly! After Classics I’ll take a break and then start to build the shape again towards the Tour of France (if I make it into the selection) and World Championships all in the summer. They are quite closer now, with the Super Worlds this year so it will be a big block, but I think it can benefit the riders coming out of the Tour. Almost every year, you see riders coming out of the Vuelta and performing well in the Worlds race, because in such a long race, having the base condition coming out after a Grand Tour, it’s so crucial. I hope it will benefit me as well.
CM – With the World Championships and Tour de France so close this year, do you believe that your preparation will be different?
KA – No. I think if you reach a good peak for the Tour de France, then you will also be at a good peak for the World Championships!
CM – A young Portuguese talented cyclist named António Morgado is one of the most promising riders of this new generation. He had a chance to ride a few days with the team, what do you think his future will be?
KA – Unfortunately, I was not really so much in the group with him, so I didn’t have many opportunities to see how he was riding. From what I heard from the other guys who rode with him, he is really a strong guy, very polite and I think that’s important when you come to the professional ranks. Stay humble, and polite and just do the work. That’s the impression I have from other guys about Morgado. If he keeps that up, I don’t see why he can’t be a professional rider in the future.
Get to Know Kasper Asgreen
CM – Favourite Race?
KA – Ronde van Vlaanderen
CM – Favourite Dish?
KA – Italian Food
CM – Series or a Movie that no one can miss?
KA – Suits
CM – A concert that you would recommend to a friend?
KA – I have not been to too many concerts in my life so it’s difficult for me (laughs).
CM – One of those you went to?
KA – I’ve always dreamed of seeing Queen… Unfortunately, that’s not possible anymore, but Queen is one of my favourite bands. It would be amazing to watch them performing live.
CM – What types of songs do you listen to when you’re training?
KA – I don’t listen to music when I train.
CM – Dream Trip?
KA – Anywhere with a bike race.
CM – Dessert that you can´t resist?
KA – All of them! (laughs)
Thank you very much Kasper for the interview! We hope you can achieve your goals for the season and perform at your best level!
Main Photo: Alex Broadway / Getty Images