Team Saxo-Tinkoff | December 20, 2012
Team Saxo-Tinkoff's Irish-born Dane, Christopher Juul-Jensen has impressed in his first season as a professional with his gumption, perseverance and indelible optimism. In Kampionschap van Vlaandern, the 23-year-old talent could practically smell his first win as he took a surprising second place and he now looks forward to a new season with more hair on his chest and bigger challenges:
How have you experienced the past season?
"It has been hugely challenging and a whole new world has opened up for me. There have been so many new things and people to get to know. Everything is bigger and wilder in the professional world compared to the amateur scene. But I was soon integrated on the team and very quickly I felt at ease among all my colleagues and that has really been the goal this season besides helping out my teammates on the road. I was happy about my race program. There was a little bit of everything so I've had a good taste of what it's like to be a true professional and I'm looking forward to be experiencing much more of it in the years to come. "
What has been the biggest surprise?
"It was to be allowed to launch my career in Argentina with Alberto. It was a great honor to sit and watch him in the field. At least until we started to climb.. He was a true gentleman and he obviously greatly appreciated the support. As a neo-pro it was cool to be allowed to have this experience so soon and it put my new life as part of a large team in perspective. I was also extremely pleased to be able to do the Amstel Gold Race. It was a fast-paced race. I crossed the finish line after 260 kilometers which were the hardest I've ever done and I just thought: WOW, I wanna do this again. Late in the season, I surprised myself as well as I got a spot on the podium in Koolskamp. It's a pretty prestigious kermese race in Belgium. The atmosphere was boiling among the hardcore Belgian cycling fans. I hit the right break early in the race and didn't expect us to last all the way but finally the loss of time to the field stagnated and we knew the victory was ours. I was extremely nervous and thought to myself: Holy shit, I can win the race. However, that wasn't to be but I came in second and I was pleased. Especially after such a long and tough first season. "
What do you expect from 2013?
"Over the winter, I hope to digest my first season mentally and physically and that I can transfer my experiences and new power to top performances and hopefully also do a few results of my own in the coming season. With such a strong team packed with star riders, it's going to be a privilege for a rider like me to support the team in the big races. And when I look at my race program and thinking of my teammates, I'm extra motivated to get out on the road and do those crucial, laborious miles on the bike and I'm working extra hard when I now know what to expect of the coming season.”