By Martyn Herman
BERLIN (Reuters) – As preparation for a race goes, 34 hours in self-isolation in a hotel room is unlikely to catch on, but Michael Morkov shrugged it off to power Denmark to another gold at the track cycling world championships on Sunday.
Morkov, caught up in the coronavirus scare this week that shut down the UAE Tour, showed no ill-effects as he and Lasse Norman Hansen won the madison title in the Berlin velodrome.
Working in perfect unison in the 200-lap relay-style event in which riders take it in turns to race, hand-slinging their partner into the fray, the Danes gained a lap and scored regularly in the sprints to dominate.
They ended with 62 points to New Zealand’s 33, while German defending champions Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt were third.
“It’s been a wave, two days ago I was afraid not to even participate in the event here,” Morkov, who spent the hours in his room training on rollers, told reporters.
The final day of action in the Berlin velodrome included an emotional tribute to Germany’s Kristina Vogel, the reigning Olympic sprint champion paralyzed in an accident in 2018.
Vogel, now working as a television analyst, received a prolonged standing ovation after being awarded a special merit award by the cycling governing body the UCI.
Fittingly, Germany’s new flyer Emma Hinze then had the fans roaring as she went out and won the women’s keirin to follow her victories in the individual and team sprints. Germany ended second in the medals table with four golds.
Just as last year, the Netherlands claimed six golds with Harrie Lavreysen retaining his sprint title in an all-Dutch showdown with team mate Jeffrey Hoogland with who he had smashed the world record in the team sprint earlier in the week.
Elinor Barker rode to the rescue of the British team, producing a superb solo attack to win the points race on the final afternoon just when it looked as though the powerhouse track nation would go home without a gold.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)