28/08 : Aiming for top-10!

August 28th, 2007

The end of this year’s Eneco Tour is getting closer. Today’s parcours was a 177 km long mini edition of Amstel Gold Race including Cauberg and Eyserbosweg, but unfortunately the stage was scarred by a bunch crash causing the leading rider to abandon the race prematurely. Luckily, Brian Vandborg avoided getting involved. He crossed the finishing line with the remaining part of the peloton that had been reduced due to the crash and the demanding parcours, and the Danish rider can now look forward to the final time trial tomorrow.

”Luckily I could steer clear of the crash, into the grass,” he tells. ”I didn’t feel super today, kind of medium, but I guess I was not the only one feeling that way,” he adds explaining that it has been six days of high speed action. He didn’t see himself what happened when Nick Nuyens crashed. ”I heard that Nuyens took a ride on the back wheel of one of his team mates.”

Tomorrow, a 29,6 km TT on a technically difficult route lies ahead. ”It is very technical. There are 32 curves, and half of them lies within five km, so that must be a curve each 300 meters,” the Danish rider comments, hoping for a rank among the best. ”I hope to be able to make it in the top-10, both on the TT and in the overall … The last part, however, can be difficult to obtain.” His fellow Dane and former team mate, Allan Johansen is not as modest when it comes to the chances of Brian Vandborgs. ”I believe that he can make it in the top-10 in the overall, if he rides up to his best during the TT,” he told www.feltet.dk yesterday.

And Brian Vandborg is definitely going to try his best. All in all he is in good spirits, and the words from the national coach, Lars Bonde Nielsen, about his chances to become one of the three riders to represent Denmark at the World Championships in Stuttgart at the end of the month, provides motivation. “I am still lacking a bit, but that will come before the World’s. You shouldn’t forget that I started not that long ago,” he says.

Generally, he has been satisfied with his performance in the Eneco Tour, and the atmosphere on the team is also fine despite the fact, that they are all heading in different directions. “The spirit is still fine. I think that everybody simply enjoys racing together these last races, and besides, we are seeing each other next year too.”

When Eneco Tour ends tomorrow, he is heading back to Italy for at couple of days, before he returns to Denmark in order to race in Aarhus on September 6th. And from September 9th it is Tour de Pologne and hopefully adding a trip to Stuttgart at the end of the month.

25/08 : Stress on Belgian roads

August 25th, 2007

The speed was high on the 170,8 km long 3rd stage of Eneco Tour from Knokke-Heist to Putte i ENECO Tour, and to Brian Vandborg it meant another stressful day at the ’office’. ”I felt better today. My stomach is still giving me a hard time, but I think that I am going to get it under control,” he says.

”It was fast like Hell all day with lots of punctures due to shitty belgian roads, a few crashes at the end, but not as bad as yesterday. Also, the wind was not as bad,” he adds.

Even though the Discovery Channel team had their share of flat tyres, they were spared of major accidents, and except for Gianni Meersman and Volodymir Bileka, who crossed the finishing line 1:25 and 2:38 minutes after, all Vandborg’s team mates came in with the peloton. Gianni Meersman had been part of the break and Volodymir Bileka had worked all day for Gusev.

“As said previously, the speed was high again, but finally there was a break with my fellow Dane, Klostergaard, but Lotto knew that they would end up working all day, since there were nobody in the break who posed a threat in the overall, and therefore Cofidis didn’t care. So, just as we sat in the peloton talking a bit after the speedy start, it was stretched out again and a group got away in which there was a guy who was a little over a minute after in the overall, and then the sprinter teams knew that the classification rider’s teams would help.”

While Vandborg didn’t feel especially fine yesterday, things went much better today. ”It was stressful, but I am on top again,” he says.

Tomorrow, a 182 km long stage from Maldegem to Terneuzen waits for the riders, in which the riders come into the Netherlands, and even though it looks like a relatively easy stage on the paper, the flat profile could deceive the unprepared. The wind could be a decisive factor. At the coast there is always wind, and if you are not constantly aware, you could wind up being sat if an attack is launched.

24/08 : Wind and high speed!

August 24th, 2007

Actually, things are going pretty good for Brian Vandborg at the moment, and his spirit is high, even though the Discovery Channel team had quit a bit of accidents during yesterday’s stage from Waremme to Eupen.

“We really had bad luck yesterday. Gusev had a flat tyre three times and crashed. So, we had to use quite a bit of effort to get him back with 20 km to go,” Brian Vandborg tells from Belgium where he is riding the ENECO Tour. ”And I almost goes down too as he crashes. If we hadn’t had to spent so much energy on the mishabs we would probably have gotten a better result. Gusev and I could have been among the seven first riders yesterday. But, if and if … After all, my time was corrected today, so I got a time 17 seconds better,” he adds.

Today’s stage was a 199,2 km long and rather flat stage from Antwerpen to Knokke-Heist. And the weather was nice. 24 degrees and sunny, and the Danish rider feels that he is getting better and better. ”My form is good, even if I didn’t feel remarkable today. I think that I have been eaten too little the last couple of days,” he explains.

Food deficit is bad when the racing is as hard as it is, and for Brian Vandborg it is a matter of re-energizing for the upcoming days. ”Tomorrows stage will be just as today. The next three stages will be that way. But, today the speed was high. We rode with an average speed of 47.5 km/h the first two hours.”

”There are always windy here, and besides it is always stressful to ride in Belgium. There are still 50 riders who have a chance in the overall, and who have to stay up front, and then there are 10 sprinters and 50 wannabe sprinters, so it is definitely a dog fight,” he laughs.

At the moment the Danish rider is 21st in the overall with 1:02 minutes to the leading rider, and he hasn’t given up the hope of a good result. “It could have been better, but it is still possible to aim for a top 10.”

The Discovery Channel team is primarily riding for Vladimir Gusev, but there are definately also room for Brian Vandborg to ride his own chance, if the opportunity should arise.

Tomorrows stage presents 170 km from Knokke-Heist to Putte, and for Vandborg the main objective is to stay in front with the peloton. The riders that are not within the best in the overall are going to join if a larger group gets away, but otherwise it is primarily a matter of taking it easy looking ahead to the TT on Wednesday.

20/08 : ENECO Tour and Tour de Pologne:

August 20th, 2007

Brian Vandborg is part of the peloton when the start of ENECO Tour goes on Wednesday. The Belgian/Dutch Pro Tour stage race is taking place from august 22nd to august 29th.

22-08: Prologue: Hasselt (B) (5,1 km)
23-08: Stage 1: Waremme (B) – Eupen (B) (189,5 km)
24-08: Stage 2: Antwerpen (B) – Knokke-Heist (B) (199,1 km)
25-08: Stage 3: Knokke-Heist (B) – Putte (B) (170,8 km)
26-08: Stage 4: Maldegem (B) – Terneuzen (NL) (182,7 km)
27-08: Stage 5: Terneuzen (NL) – Nieuwegein (NL) (179,9 km)
28-08: Stage 6: Beek (NL) – Landgraaf (NL) (177,4 km)
29-08: Stage 7: Sittard (NL) -Geleen (NL) (TT 29,6 km)

The Danish rider is also among the riders of the Discovery Channel team who are going to ride Tour de Pologne, which is taking place from September 10th to September 16th.

Check back to se how it goes.

13/08 : Just getting better!

August 13th, 2007

Brian Vandborg hasn’t had the pleasure of victory since he won the TT at the national championships last year, but today he felt the great feeling again when he won the second stage of Tour de L’Ain.

“Four of us got away on the top of a climb 15 km before the finish. We passed the line with ten km to go, and at that time I was told not to take more leads, as they were going to do the sprint for Davis. It made me a bit discontent, but anyway. A kilometre later we hit a three kilometre climb, and they start to attack. I had to let the Credit Agricole rider go,” Vandborg said after his victory, adding a description of the final:

“After that I had to lead the last 1,5 km to the top from which there were six kilometres to the finishing line. Grabovskyy and I are chasing to catch him, while the Cofidis rider did nothing. We had between 30 and 50 meters all the time, and with 900 meters to go, I waved Grabovskyy to the front, and he took over. So, with 400 meters to go the gab is closed. The Cofidis guy opened the sprint 250 before the line, I took his wheel and it didn’t take much to pass him.”

With this victory Brian Vandborg has gained that extra self-confidence that he has been searching for the final races of the season.

“I am just getting better and better from now on,” he says.

12/08 : Tour de l’Ain

August 12th, 2007

Finally Brian Vandborg is back racing, and even though he has had a few slaps in his face lately – being left out of the rooster for the Tour of Germany and receiving the news about the closing of his team – he is recovering his positive attitude towards life.

“I’m fine,” he says having just finished the first stage of the French race Tour de l’Ain, which was by the way won by the Swiss Gerolsteiner rider Beat Zberg.

“12-15 riders make it in a break at the 12 km long climb with the top 10-15 km before the finishing line. We had Devolder in the break. I am sitting just behind them in a group of 15-20 riders, but there is no unity at all, so instead we wind up being 40 riders in our group. I believe we are crossing the line 1:50 minutes after the winner,” he tells.

There have not been many races for the Danish rider lately, but that didn’t seem to have much influence on his performance today. “At the beginning my legs were a bit tired after the criteria and the lack of sleep and the travelling, but after that they were surprisingly good,” he says, adding that he feels heavy progress.

According to Brian Vandborg today’s stage was relatively flat during the first 125 km, after that 12 km of climbing, three km false flat and three km downhill followed by two flat km to the finishing line. Tomorrow, they have to deal with 160 km racing in which the first 90 km are relatively flat followed by 70 km hilly terrain. “So, I think there is quite a chance of a bunch sprint, if Gerolsteiner takes responsibility.”

The starting point of the Discovery Channel team is that everybody is entitled to race for them selves, but right now Stijn Devolder is 6th overall. “Everybody has a chance, but it is obvious that Devolder is at a favourable position af the moment. We are finishing at Colombiere on Tuesday, so it is hard to make predictions about who is the favourite.”

At first sight climbs like that are not really appealing to Brian Vandborg, but at the moment he is ready to do a little of everything. “It depends on how things are developing tomorrow. I might give it a chance, because all the stages are rather short, so I don’t think it will mean a lot regarding my recovery, and it would be a fine test and good training regarding the next races,” he says.

Apart from the races he will do for the Discovery Channel team there is also an upcoming World Championship. And of course he would like to be a part of the Danish National Team. It is not yet decided whether Denmark will have three or six riders in Stuttgart. “If the number is six, I should be quite sure, if my progress continues. If it is three, then Matti (Breschel), Lars (Bak) and Nicki (Sørensen) are better than me right now. But in shortly I will be riding just as fast as them.”

08/08 : Good to be back, again …

August 8th, 2007

Brian Vandborg did Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian, and that was definately not a relaxing come back to the Pro Tour races. He had to work hard to catch a break.

“We missed a break with 23 riders who got away from the start …. Pretty stupid,” he says, adding: “We were two minutes behind when we stopped shortly before Jaizkibel, but that was ok.”

Prior to the race Vandborg told that they were probably riding for Alan Davis, and he alså turned out to be the best rider from the American team at the end. However, the result was not quite as good as Brian Vandborg hoped for. Davis ended up 36th.

“No, we thought he would be able to stay with the best, but the climb was too hard for him the way it was ridden,” his Danish team mate explains. For Brian Vandborg personally it was good to be back, even though he admits that it was hard work.

Unfortunately he will not have the opportunity to show his abilities during the Tour of Germany that starts on Friday. Originally, Vandborg was supposed to ride, but internal changes has made, that that is not the case after all.

“Levi decided that he wanted to race. I guess he has found out that he has good chances of a victory,” Brian Vandborg says. Instetad he will do a few criteria the next days. “If I am not doing Tour de l’Ain, that starts Sunday, I wil probably ride Fyn Rundt (a Danish race), and it is quite sure, that I will be riding in Hamburg (Vattenfall Cyclassics) and hopefully ENECO Tour and quite probably Poland (Tour de Pologne, red.),” the Danish rider tells.