Development team Hagens Berman Axeon is making the most of its return to the Amgen Tour of California this year after a one-year absence, with sprinter Jasper Philipsen finishing sixth in the stage 1 bunch sprint and Sean Bennett claiming second on the stage 3 romp to Laguna Seca Raceway on Tuesday.
Now reigning under-23 time trial world champion Mikkel Bjerg is hoping to keep the momentum rolling with a top performance in Wednesday’s 34.7km race against the clock in San Jose.
“I’m super-excited,” Bjerg told Cyclingnews earlier this week. “It’s been on my mind for the last couple of weeks now, just getting ready and getting my shape better and better every day. I feel pretty confident that I’ll be able to put in a respectable performance.”
For Bjerg, “respectable” doesn’t come with a specific result attached. He told Cyclingnews he’s more focused on continuing to improve.
“For me, it’s mostly about the development,” he said. “I don’t want to be the under-23 world champion that never did anything after winning the title, so I’ve kind of just taken it step-by-step and tried to see if I could raise my level a bit for the season. With my hand injury, with the broken hand, it was a bit tough to come back, but I think I’ve found some really good shape and brought it here to California.”
Bjerg broke his hand racing in Belgium at Nokere Koerse in mid-March and has only put in nine racing days since, but the 19-year-old, who still needs to wrap his hand before each race, said he’s ready to take on his first WorldTour time trial, especially on a long course that is well-suited to his skills.
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