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Michael Valgren: ‘I’m just grateful I can still be a cyclist’

The Dane was full of emotions after finishing second after a long road back

Michael Valgren: ‘I'm just grateful I can still be a cyclist' Photo by: Sirotti

There was a time when medical experts wondered whether Dane Michael Valgren would ever ride again. In 2022, the EF Education–EasyPost had a brutal crash at the Route d’Occitanie which resulted in several brutal injuries.

It’s the Giro right, it means a lot,” the Dane told reporters after the line. “A few years back, I was not sure if I had a contract. He broke his pelvis, dislocated his hip, as well as rupturingACL and MCL and rupturing his meniscus. The past few years has seen lots of rehab and physiotherapy for the 32-year-old, and finally he is showing signs of his former self.

So far this spring he’s had a top-ten Dwars door Vlaanderen, and on Wednesday, just missed out on a stage win at the Giro d’Italia.

“The team really helped me through this in a really good way and I’m happy to start to pay things back,” he said. “I’m just grateful I can still be a cyclist so thanks to everybody.”

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Cofidis rider Benjamin Thomas outsprinted Valgren and the other breakaway companions to win Stage 5, which also included Andrea Pietrobon (Team Polti Kometa), and Enzo Paleni (Groupama-FDJ). Wednesday’s stage was 178 km, from Genova to Lucca.

Valgren has lived in Lucca, and knows some of the roads well.

“I think knowing the Montemagno climbs was a good one to know, but the rest was pretty straightforward, to be honest. You know, nowadays you have the map on the computer and we know everything with the video view and everything. So it doesn’t really come as a shock for anybody,” he admitted.

He came close to winning, and says he was trying to channel his fellow countryman, and Tour de France stage winner.

“I had to go a really long sprint and hopefully, I could do a Magnus Cort Nielsen sprint you know, but yeah, I have to learn a bit more,” Valgren said. “But in the end we worked well together and we knew it would be difficult, but we made it. Chapeau to the other guys for working well together.”

The stage was noticeable for questionable tactics by Alpecin-Deceuninck. The team set a brutal pace in the early parts of the stage, notably the Passo del Bracco climb. That caused some trouble for many sprint rivals. However, when the peloton and sprinters teams started to try and pull back the break, they were nowhere to be seen.

In the finale, the break managed to stay ahead of the peloton by 11 seconds.