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INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS JUUL JENSEN
By email from Knud Jensen
16 May 2006,
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Q: Chris, you disappeared from the cycling scene shortly after representing Ireland at the Youth Olympics - what happened?
A: First of all let me say that going to the Youth Olympics was the high point of my cycling career - at least so far. And a big thanks to Michael McKenna, Kenny Dunlop and Padraig Marrey for getting me there!
As to what happened, after the Olympics, I travelled to Denmark to race and attend the same cycling school my brother went to for my 4th year. Seemed a better idea than St. Andrew's College where a trip to the Aran Islands and art classes would have been the high points.
The plan was to come back this summer but in the meantime my parents decided to relocate back home after 18 years in Ireland, so I'm stuck here..
Q: What's the school like?
A: Amazing. We are group of 20 riders at the school and we train, sleep and talk bikes all day long
Q: And how does the racing compare to Ireland?
A: Rather well.... The level in Denmark is the highest in Europe, probably. With over 100 juniors at each race! Beats lining up with a bunch of vets! Doing the same races as my dad wouldn't be so good for morale either.
The roads are much better and have less traffic. The races are very tactical as there are some big junior teams over here and it is fast from the gun!
Q: And what about results, so far?
A: Ok! I spent the last half of 2005 getting used to the speed over here. I knew from the Youth Olympics that the Danish riders were a bit faster than 'us'. But from the start of this season, I have been right on the pace with podiums in Germany and Denmark and a stage win in Holland two weeks ago. That was particularly sweet as I left the break with 10k to go and held it all the way home. It was a 125k stage and it p..... rained all day, so maybe the Irish experience helped!
Q: What aspects of your riding are you working on?
A: It's hard competing with 2nd year juniors some of which are among the best in Europe, so I need a bit more stamina for the longer races
Q: How many races have you done so far and what are the race distances?
A: Around 20 races in all and they have all been over 100K, so I will soon need a rest!
Q: Has your progress been noticed?
A: Yes, but with so many good riders around its very hard to get picked for international duties. Mind you, I am off to Holland this coming week-end for a 3 day World Cup race as part of a county team and then its back for a Danish international stage race.
Q: What about your nationality in relation to team selection?
A: With my parents having moved, I have decided to declare for Denmark.... It would be too hard travelling over to Ireland for selection races, etc. But I would love to come over for the Junior Tour this year or next and meet up with everyone! And I would never underestimate the local talent"
Q: Does that mean you are lost to Irish cycling?
A: Most likely but you have so many other really good riders coming through! I would like to visit the Irish House in Belgium again. Kurt was so supportive when we were over there last year. Its such a cool set-up.
A: Are you mixing MTB with the road like your brother?
Q: No I'm 100% for the road but I really appreciate the years I did mountain biking as it taught me to climb and stay upright on the bike. And with 100 mad juniors fighting over every inch of tarmac over here, bike handling skills come in handy when trying to avoid crashes.
Q: How is Thomas getting on?
A: He got a bad knee injury last year just as the season was about to start. It took 12 months to clear up, so he's more on the golf course now. But I'm starting school near him in August and will try and get him back on the bike, even if it is one with knobbly tires...
IrishCycling.com would like to thank Christopher and Knud for the interview.
See the latest news about Christopher here
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