Guest Article: Giro d’Italia in Denmark

Guest Article: Giro d’Italia in Denmark

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Morten Okbo joins us on the second rest day of il Giro (even though it really feels like only the first rest day) to tell the tale of the Giro making its start in his homeland of Denmark. Morten is a long-time reader of Velominati, but distinguishes himself amongst our Guest Contributors as also being a contributor for Rouleur, one of our principle muses. Morten is a musician – either by trade or by heart – but finds a way to write and to follow the Grand Tours in person. Stand by for more contributions as the season chugs on.

Morten has also managed to drag his photographer, Jakob Kristian Sørensen, down to our level. This post has been updated to include a second photo album courtesy of Jakob.

Yours in Cycling, Frank

This was in 2010, I think. And it began as a joke. Then a friend on the inside sent an email. Now it was no joke. Absolutely no joke, it read. Frankly, my photographer and I were a little bewildered. Rumours had circulated for a long time but nobody really believed it; Il Giro would start in the city of Herning, Denmark. Listen, I said to anyone who would listen; We’ve already secured the UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen 2011. There wouldn’t be a GT in Denmark for thirty years now, if ever.

Besides, why would the Italians look to the north in May? Sure, it could be sunny here. Hell, even warm some days. But also with possible thunderstorms. Or howling winds bringing cold weather from (a) The North Sea. (b) The Fjells of Norway or (c) Siberia.

Call Cunego for a comment, I emailed back and got out of the bathtub.

Time passed. Now we hear Monaco is making their bid for the start. Having just spent 10 days in Cannes I thought; Yep, that’s more like it! The slopes of Southern France are perfect because, well, because they ARE! I was getting tired of the whole thing; what were we doing talking about Denmark and the Giro!?

Then it shifted. Word got out that Washington DC was in the race for the start. I laughed. Those silly americans. Do we want jetlagged riders doing a TTT in Verona? Now there’s a rubric. But I was not so sure anymore. It all seemed random now and the race organizers, unlike Le Tour, were never known to be traditionalists.

Of course, Bjarne Riis was looming in the background. The man is born and raised in Herning – cycling city numero uno in Denmark. Also; Riis was wearing his smirk. Everytime the subject came up, Jakob – my photographer – and I exchanged glances.

Fast forward.

Two weeks ago Giro d’Italia arrived in Denmark. There it was. And there was Riis. The smirk. The city of Herning was hosting the start and everything had turned pink. The slogan dropped down from RCS was this; Think Pink! So the people of Herning had painted their buildings pink. Trees. Bicycles, cars. In every shopping window the owners had found something, anything, to spraypaint. 70,000 pink tulips had been planted in every round-about in the city. The local football team changed jersey! Their newspaper look like La Gazzetta Dello Sport? A home for retired people had painted a rollator pink and hung it from a tree!

I’ll tell you what, I said to Jakob as we rolled into town: Our city of Aarhus could never have done this. We are too uptight. Think Museum of Art, The Old Theater, the ridiculously expensive cafees. The University. No. Our city is too big for this. And therefore too provincial.

Jakob said, Did you know that the Giro actually offered our mayor stage 3?

You got to be kidding!

Nope, he continued. But the idiot said no. Apparently it was too expensive. About a million bucks. Then Herning apologized to the Italians who had called back puzzled. Herning then suggested Horsens instead and the first person who picked up the call at City Hall said ‘Yes, thank you very much!’

Oh, god.

_________

And then it was over. For three days the race was here. The public, the media, even the Royal Family embraced this as if Il Giro was our homecoming queen. And then it struck me: Of course! Pink is pork in my corner of the world. Danish bacon. Pick up pork next time you go shopping. The company is called Danish Crown. Crown Prince Pink Pork. 20 million pigs and five million danes were welcoming pink home to the Motherland.

Of course, Il Giro fit right in!

Slideshow:
Fullscreen:

Jakob Kristian Sørensen’s Album:

Slideshow:
Fullscreen:

// Guest Article // Racing

  1. @Marcus

    the jewelry. say jewelry if anybody asks!

    but yes, the mayor of horsens died on a small climb outside the city, the giro actually did a minute of silence for him and then one for wouter weylandt. aarhus would truly have been perfect for the giro, a bit ardenne-like. you know the place, marcus?

  2. @morten okbo I don’t think Marcus has ever actually stepped foot outside of Victoria. Mum’s older brother lives just outside Aarhus, my wife & I spent a few days with them late in 2010 and all I can remember when being driven through the forests was that it would make for awesome riding.

  3. @Mikael Liddy
    oh, it was you, mikael. i got that wrong.

  4. @morten okbo
    Great article and great photos, I think you have increased the already high level of this passionate community.

  5. And the same for Jakob Kristian Sørensen photos.

  6. @wiscot

    Worth a few minutes of your time: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/video/2012/may/22/giro-italia-stage-17-video

    Interesting, the uphill finishes always hold such a hallowed place in stage races, but the last two years’ Tours have shown us that the stages with a tough climb followed by a good descent are at least as exciting, if not more so. Especially when the favorites just swivelneck up the last climbs and neutralize each other.

    @morten okbo
    As a Dutchman, most American’s think I’m from Denmark. Its insane, how little Americans know about Europe. And then when I point out the mistake, its usually a response somewhere between a quizical look that says, “whats the difference” and “well you should be.” Which just stresses their ignorance of Europe.

    Makes me hate Denmark a bit.

  7. @frank
    I thought the Dutch were from Pennsylvania.

  8. @itburns

    @frank
    I thought the Dutch were from Pennsylvania.

    Those PA Dutch make the BEST Birch Beer…

  9. @itburns

    @frank
    I thought the Dutch were from Pennsylvania.

    I know I’m missing your point, but…Pennsylvania Dutch are actually Germans. I think its that someone asked one of them what language they spoke and they said “Deutsch” and someone equally-or-more-so ignorant of Europe assumed they had said Dutch. Whoever it was should have joined Brett and Minion in that bike shop in EnZed.

  10. Great article Morten. Thanks for sharing the inside line on the Giro rolling into Denmark. Disbelief and excitement would be my reaction too. I guess it takes someone like Bjarne (and many euros) to get the Italians to go so far north. Pink tulips, pink newspapers, the Danes embrace this properly. I’m jealous, I’ve never been to the Giro and it’s never coming here.

    It would be embarrassing if it ever came to the USA, it’s a little far for an Italian race, no? We would do a shit job on all accounts. Bikes are an impediment to our way of life in the USA, not a way of life, as it is in Denmark and Holland.

    Jakob Kristian Sørensen’s photos are killer too.

  11. @frank

    @itburns

    @frank
    I thought the Dutch were from Pennsylvania.

    I know I’m missing your point, but…

    Just playing the part of the Ignorant American, so it looks like you were on point after all.

  12. Morten, Jakob,

    Welcome and thank you for sharing your words and images… very cool indeed to have such an insight into the strangeness of Il Giro in Denmark!

    Cheers.

  13. Oh, and I suppose I should mention… I was actually at the Slip Inn in Sydney the night Morten’s Royal Couple met.

    So it could’ve been me.

    Princess of Denmark.

  14. This guy is moving like a house:

    This guys moving like a Schleck.

  15. I have a question about Denmark.

    Does this photo represent Danes having “fun”? Because if it is, it looks like they’re doing it wrong.

  16. I just did a Google Image Search for “Belgian Cycling Fan” for an example of how to do it right. It didn’t turn up the expected naked woman, but it did turn up this, and it still serves my point.

    This is how you watch a bike race. You get so drunk you need your buddy to angrily remind you that the cigarette goes in your ass, not your ear.

  17. @frank
    that guy really needs the eye patch

  18. Strangely, this came up when searching for “Italian Cycling Fan”.

  19. @frank

    I just did a Google Image Search for “Belgian Cycling Fan” for an example of how to do it right. It didn’t turn up the expected naked woman, but it did turn up this, and it still serves my point.

    This is how you watch a bike race. You get so drunk you need your buddy to angrily remind you that the cigarette goes in your ass, not your ear.

    Is that a fucking Corona in his hand? with a pack of Camels? you sure these guys are from Belgium?

  20. @RedRanger

    @frank

    I just did a Google Image Search for “Belgian Cycling Fan” for an example of how to do it right. It didn’t turn up the expected naked woman, but it did turn up this, and it still serves my point.

    This is how you watch a bike race. You get so drunk you need your buddy to angrily remind you that the cigarette goes in your ass, not your ear.

    Is that a fucking Corona in his hand? with a pack of Camels? you sure these guys are from Belgium?

    That’s actually one of the “lost photos” from the PDX Cogal. And that’s not a cig.

  21. @frank

    Strangely, this came up when searching for “Italian Cycling Fan”.

    I wonder sometimes what they use in the query engine (trying to sound techy smart, I have no idea what that means) at Google. I type in” Washington DC cycling” and this is on the results;

    I’ve been to the nations capital a few times, and I seem to have missed the mountain range there.

  22. @brett

    Oh, and I suppose I should mention… I was actually at the Slip Inn in Sydney the night Morten’s Royal Couple met.
    So it could’ve been me.
    Princess of Denmark.

    I bet you’d look hot in a tiara. Prince’s loss, I suppose.

  23. @frank

    I have a question about Denmark.

    Does this photo represent Danes having “fun”? Because if it is, it looks like they’re doing it wrong.

    God only knows the Danes like to drink. It’s not cheap there but that doesn’t seem to stop them. Maybe the photographer insulted the man with crossed arms by asking if he was German. Or maybe he is wearing a stylish straight-jacket and can’t get a drink to his face. That would make him mad.

  24. @RedRanger

    Is that a fucking Corona in his hand? with a pack of Camels? you sure these guys are from Belgium

    Yeah and I think the other might be a Red Stripe. Per @Scaler911’s observation of the “Query Engine”, I have no clue if they are Belgian, and don’t care. It could be. A guy basically asked me to mary him at Flanders. He was very drunk, and already married. To what I suspect is a woman, not sure though, never saw her. Which was not the only reason I declined.

    Besides, everyone around here knows that if there is such a thing as a query engine, its @Scaler911.

  25. @Jeff in PetroMetro

    @brett

    Oh, and I suppose I should mention… I was actually at the Slip Inn in Sydney the night Morten’s Royal Couple met.
    So it could’ve been me.
    Princess of Denmark.

    I bet you’d look hot in a tiara. Prince’s loss, I suppose.

    You obviously haven’t seen Brett. Believe me, its most certainly NOT the Prince’s loss. After spending the week with Brett basically saying the following (in order), I was more than a little concerned having to share a tiny European “double” bed with him.

    http://www.anyclip.com/movies/along-came-polly/going-to-the-art-opening/

  26. @frank

    I have a question about Denmark.

    Does this photo represent Danes having “fun”? Because if it is, it looks like they’re doing it wrong.

    When I saw this I thought of one thing : The Sopranos chilling out in front of Satriale’s

  27. @frank

    @RedRanger


    Is that a fucking Corona in his hand? with a pack of Camels? you sure these guys are from Belgium

    Yeah and I think the other might be a Red Stripe. Per @Scaler911″²s observation of the “Query Engine”, I have no clue if they are Belgian, and don’t care. It could be. A guy basically asked me to mary him at Flanders. He was very drunk, and already married. To what I suspect is a woman, not sure though, never saw her. Which was not the only reason I declined.

    Besides, everyone around here knows that if there is such a thing as a query engine, its @Scaler911.

    So your only problem with his proposal was that he was already married? I guess it’s fortunate that you spotted the ring…

  28. @Bianchi Denti

    @frank

    @RedRanger

    Is that a fucking Corona in his hand? with a pack of Camels? you sure these guys are from Belgium

    Yeah and I think the other might be a Red Stripe. Per @Scaler911″²s observation of the “Query Engine”, I have no clue if they are Belgian, and don’t care. It could be. A guy basically asked me to mary him at Flanders. He was very drunk, and already married. To what I suspect is a woman, not sure though, never saw her. Which was not the only reason I declined.

    Besides, everyone around here knows that if there is such a thing as a query engine, its @Scaler911.

    So your only problem with his proposal was that he was already married? I guess it’s fortunate that you spotted the ring…

    I highlighted the part of my post that answers your question. I understand its hard for you to read, though, when I’m using all five vowels; in EnZed, of course, its customary to use the just the one: the letter “I”.

    So this previous paragraph would look like this to you:

    I highlightid the pirt of my pist thit inswirs yiir qistin. I indirstind its hird fir yi ti rid, thigh, whin I’m ising ill fiv viwils; in inZid, if cirse, its cistimiry ti is thi jist thi in: thi littir “I”.

    @San Tonio
    Nicely done, my man.

  29. Min, wi’r ginni hiv thi bist bik ship ivir ind i sign in thi will thit siys “NI FRINKS”

  30. @minion

    Min, wi’r ginni hiv thi bist bik ship ivir ind i sign in thi will thit siys “NI FRINKS”

    Sweet (swiit)!

  31. Can’t help thinking of the Knights that say ‘Ni!’ from Monty Python.

  32. @frank
    Your Belgian Cycling Fan — to fat to climb.

  33. @versio

    @frank
    Your Belgian Cycling Fan “” to fat to climb.

    That is awesome and disturbing in the same photo.

  34. @scaler911

    @RedRanger

    @frank

    I just did a Google Image Search for “Belgian Cycling Fan” for an example of how to do it right. It didn’t turn up the expected naked woman, but it did turn up this, and it still serves my point.

    This is how you watch a bike race. You get so drunk you need your buddy to angrily remind you that the cigarette goes in your ass, not your ear.

    Is that a fucking Corona in his hand? with a pack of Camels? you sure these guys are from Belgium?

    That’s actually one of the “lost photos” from the PDX Cogal. And that’s not a cig.

    Haha. I’m all to familiar with these kinda folks then. They made my camping trip last week very eventful. It really ended with a bang.

  35. @scaler911
    I was thinking exactly the same thing.

  36. @RedRanger
    Given that you’re from Arizona, I’m imagining the ‘bang’ involved explosive ordinance?

  37. @mouse

    @RedRanger
    Given that you’re from Arizona, I’m imagining the ‘bang’ involved explosive ordinance?

    It involves a revolver a chopper and some one saying “you don’t have a hair on your balls”

  38. @Gianni

    @frank

    I have a question about Denmark.

    Does this photo represent Danes having “fun”? Because if it is, it looks like they’re doing it wrong.

    God only knows the Danes like to drink. It’s not cheap there but that doesn’t seem to stop them. Maybe the photographer insulted the man with crossed arms by asking if he was German. Or maybe he is wearing a stylish straight-jacket and can’t get a drink to his face. That would make him mad.

    People in Denmark drink? I’m Irish, we drink. A shit ton. The VMH is a German, and they don’t fuck around either. The velomirugger is genetically predisposed to do some serious damage at frat parties in a few years. I thought the Danes knitted sweaters out of Alpacas or something.

  39. @scaler911

    @Gianni

    @frank

    I have a question about Denmark.

    Does this photo represent Danes having “fun”? Because if it is, it looks like they’re doing it wrong.

    God only knows the Danes like to drink. It’s not cheap there but that doesn’t seem to stop them. Maybe the photographer insulted the man with crossed arms by asking if he was German. Or maybe he is wearing a stylish straight-jacket and can’t get a drink to his face. That would make him mad.

    People in Denmark drink? I’m Irish, we drink. A shit ton. The VMH is a German, and they don’t fuck around either. The velomirugger is genetically predisposed to do some serious damage at frat parties in a few years. I thought the Danes knitted sweaters out of Alpacas or something.

    Nordic drinking. They seem all pulled together then periodically get blind drunk on aquavit or whatever. Being Scandanavian their gov’ts tax the hell out of the stuff so they get on the ferry to Estonia, etc. and export their blackout sessions.

  40. after doing 90 km in the hilly outskirts of aarhus – which to us it’s the tour of belgium, we argue about this forever although we are probably in belgium 3-4 times a year, which does not help. belgium is ALWAYS mysterious, last night jakob and i, plus a couple of domestiques, drank too much – celebrating jakobs return from the giro – while smoking our usual cia-stash handed down from mcquaid.

    so. holland is holland. denmark is denmark. umbria is not lazio is not toscany. if you say brussels in liege you get a LOOK that could make lance envy. if you mention munich in hamburg they shrug. napoli hates rome and rome hates milano. germans love the italians but do not respect them. italians respect the germans but don’t love them. (knowing they were never thorough fascists, if you get my meaning…) stockholm thinks copenhagen is full of whimps but that’s okay because stockholm is just SOO full of itself, which you can never say out loud to stockholmers. english people believe they rule the world and germans know they do, quiet as it’s kept.

    this goes on and on all over europe.

    i’m floating this; shouldn’t it be in the great book of rules – know your geography, get to know your basics. as a european i want to know what the east coast thinks of the west coast. what does for example boston think of seattle? new york of new orleans. philly of kansas? americans of mexicans? what does canada think of the U.S?

    anyhow, all we ever argue about after midnight is how much carbon bikes suck!

  41. @morten okbo

    “anyhow, all we ever argue about after midnight is how much carbon bikes suck!”

    amen!

  42. @frank

    @morten okbo
    As a Dutchman, most American’s think I’m from Denmark. Its insane, how little Americans know about Europe. And then when I point out the mistake, its usually a response somewhere between a quizical look that says, “whats the difference” and “well you should be.” Which just stresses their ignorance of Europe.

    Makes me hate Denmark a bit.

    As a Dane most bogan Aussies think the exact reverse & assume I mean I’m Dutch so the problem goes both ways when it comes to ignorance about those far away countries in Euroland…

  43. @morten okbo

    i’m floating this; shouldn’t it be in the great book of rules – know your geography, get to know your basics. as a european i want to know what the east coast thinks of the west coast. what does for example boston think of seattle? new york of new orleans. philly of kansas? americans of mexicans? what does canada think of the U.S?

    Brilliant.

    The West Coast is mellow and relaxed, and the East Coast is filled with a bunch of uptight and inflexible idiots. On the West Coast, people wander into the office around 9 or 10, on the East Coast they are at their desks (wearing their suits and ties) by 7am. I have conference calls with them all the time and they won’t hesitate for an instant to insist that I join them on a call at the start of THEIR day, which turns out to be four or five in the morning for me.

    New Orleans is jazzy and hip, Florida is filled with old people, the South is filled with religious nutjobs, everyone in Texas drives SUV’s and hates everyone not from Texas, New York is the center of the world, San Francisco is the coolest town in the country, Seattle is filled with coffee, rain and flannel, LA is filled with assholes, and the rest of the country does nothing.

    The US likes Canada but doesn’t respect it, and Canada thinks its important.

    I think that covers it.

  44. @frank

    New York is the center of the world

    At least you got that part right.

  45. NY really is the coolest city in the US. not saying that cause I-m from there.

  46. @frank, @RedRanger
    Discussion not complete without this:

  47. @frank

    @morten okbo

    i’m floating this; shouldn’t it be in the great book of rules – know your geography, get to know your basics. as a european i want to know what the east coast thinks of the west coast. what does for example boston think of seattle? new york of new orleans. philly of kansas? americans of mexicans? what does canada think of the U.S?

    Brilliant.

    The West Coast is mellow and relaxed, and the East Coast is filled with a bunch of uptight and inflexible. On the West Coast, people wander into the office around 9 or 10, on the East Coast they are at their desks (wearing their suits and ties) by 7am. I have conference calls with them all the time and they won’t hesitate for an instant to insist that I join them on a call at the start of THEIR day, which turns out to be four or five in the morning for me.

    New Orleans is jazzy and hip, Florida is filled with old people, the South is filled with religious nutjobs, everyone in Texas drives SUV’s and hates everyone not from Texas, New York is the center of the world, San Francisco is the coolest town in the country, Seattle is filled with coffee, rain and flannel, LA is filled with assholes, and the rest of the country does nothing.

    The US likes Canada but doesn’t respect it, and Canada thinks its important.

    I think that covers it.

    (Walter Donovan voice) “Be careful and don’t trust anyone.

  48. flannel in seattle. haha ha!

  49. @frank

    I just did a Google Image Search for “Belgian Cycling Fan” for an example of how to do it right. It didn’t turn up the expected naked woman, but it did turn up this, and it still serves my point.

    This is how you watch a bike race. You get so drunk you need your buddy to angrily remind you that the cigarette goes in your ass, not your ear.

    Scottish Cycling Fan gets you this which is way cooler:

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