Sheree: How did you feel when you heard you were riding the Giro?
Mads: It’s difficult to say, a bit like every other race. You know it’s not about getting too excited here otherwise you’re gonna kill yourself in three weeks. It’s about keeping calm and taking it in your stride, like any other race. So actually I was quite relaxed but happy to do it.
Sheree: What’ll be your role on the team and what are your objectives for the race?
Mads: I’m here to help and to learn. With Bauke [Mollema] we are here to do a really good GC result and we are here with the strongest team right now. I’m just happy to be part of it and I’m here to help as an older guy would do. For me, that’s it, there’s nothing else. It’s just to learn and get the body used to work so many days in a row.
Sheree: You’re going to be carrying a lot of water bottles?
Mads: For sure (laughs).
Sheree: Were you surprised to be picked for a Grand Tour so early in your career?
Mads: If they didn’t think I was strong enough, I wouldn’t be here.
Sheree: Trek’s an interesting team with a number of very successful, long-serving pros, such as Haimar Zubeldia, and a bunch of very promising youngsters like yourself. Tell me a bit about the team dynamics. Do you have a mentor?
Mads: No, it’s a super good team and everybody is taking care of everybody else. And, when you’re young, people still want to learn you all what they know so it’s not a specific guy who has been taking me under the wings, everybody is helping me to learn.
Sheree: You’ve said you’d like to hold aloft the Paris-Roubaix trophy in five years, what else would you like to achieve
Mads: Nothing right now. The first goal when you’re young is to be a professional and then, from there, you have to set one specific goal and you have to work 100 per cent for that goal to reach it. If I was putting in 800 other goals, then which one should I take and what is the best one to do and stuff like that. So for me it’s for sure I have some smaller goals on the way to this but then end is to win Paris-Roubaix.
It was a pleasure chatting to such a talented, focused, confident, young rider who clearly has the right attitude to succeed and has a very mature head on his young shoulders. I’ve promised to catch up with him in the latter part of the Giro for an update. Finally, far be it from me to encourage anyone to place a wager, but I wouldn’t bet against Mads achieving his key objective, and many more besides.