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Söderqvist in all his power

09/06/2024

We had parted with the domination of a Scandinavian, a Norwegian, Johannes Staune-Mittet, and we are back with the victory of another Scandinavian, a Swede, Jakob Söderqvist. While the Norwegians and Danes have dominated world cycling in recent years by launching young talents and winning left, right and centre, the Swedes had remained a little more on the sidelines, failing to join the overwhelming wave of talented riders produced by neighbouring nations.

With his victory in the opening time trial in Aosta (8.8 km), Söderqvist has begun a journey that might soon put Sweden on the map of great cycling. Coincidence would have it that it was a Swede, Alf Segersäll, who was the first non-Italian athlete to win what was then known as the Giro d’Italia dilettanti. That was 1979 (the race was created in the 1970s) and since then only Emil Arnell has brought some glory to the Swedes, winning a stage in the distant 2001.

 

Söderqvist is one of those big lads who exudes power from every pore: 187 centimetres and more than 80 kg of muscles, he comes from MTB, and this is only the second year in which he is truly focusing on the road. This year he had already won the Tour de Bretagne and two stages at the Fleche du Sud, showing off his prowess on several occasions.

In the Aosta ITT, he managed to ride at an average speed of 48.8 km/h, setting a blisteringly fast time of 10’49”: “I over-achieved my expectations,” he said after the finish. The average speed was very high and I am very happy with how I rode technically. I suffered a couple of crashes recently that I feared would cause me to lose a bit of confidence in the fast corners, but today I tackled those well too. This is definitely the most prestigious time trial victory for me so far: the Giro Next Gen is both for the team and for me one of the most important events of the season. There was a bit of pressure, I admit, but we handled it perfectly and I’m happy to be in the pink jersey”.

Tomorrow, in the Aymavilles – Saint-Vincent stage, the Swede will stand out in the Maglia Rosa in all her elegance.

The goal is to wear it one more day, at least until the first, tough, summit finish at Pian della Mussa.

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