Flanders dreams, race celebrations and coffee: Question time with Emma Norsgaard

The 24-year-old Movistar rider who secured a Tour de France Femmes stage win in 2023 speaks to Rouleur about her dreams of winning the Tour of Flanders, her love for coffee, and having family in the WorldTour

Did you always want to be a professional bike racer?

No, actually. I’ve always been the type of person who takes things as they come, and when I was younger, I never pictured myself being a professional. I never had a female cyclist as a role model because you couldn’t see racing on the TV, and I didn’t have social media, so my role models were never female. I never thought it was possible.

What type of rider are you?

I like to see myself as a Classics rider. I am a little bit fast, too.

You’ve earned yourself the nickname ‘The Danish Rocket’. Do you like this name?

Yes, I take it as a compliment. I was super happy the first time I heard it. Movistar’s team owner named me that.

What’s the proudest moment of your career so far?

For sure, the Tour de France. It is the proudest I have ever felt, not just for me, but for the whole team.

How did you celebrate the Tour de France stage win?

We were all on the bus together, having a glass of champagne and me and Liane Lippert, who had won a stage a few days before, said a few words. I also had some tiramisu. It was just so great. The only thing missing was my husband. Otherwise, it was perfect.

Your husband Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) and brother Mathias Norsgaard (Movistar) are both pro racers – what’s the best thing about them being cyclists, too?

We get to enjoy so many things together: altitude camps and training. I think one of my favourite moments is when we are training together. I also get to see them grow as people and athletes – in a way that I wouldn’t if I was not a cyclist myself.

And the worst?

Everything is about cycling. Luckily, my brother has a girlfriend now who is not a cyclist, and this is actually really nice, just talking normally for once.

You’re Danish Gravel National Champion – what do you like about gravel racing?

It’s different. When I did some gravel races last year, it didn’t feel like a race. I felt like I was going back to my childhood. It’s not so serious. It’s chilled. It brought back many memories, especially when I did nationals, because my parents were on the sideline, and my grandparents. It’s something I will do again.

What’s your dream race to win?

The Classics have always been my dream. The Tour of Flanders, especially.

You also have another dream of owning your own café – what would be your house speciality?

Oh my, this has been my dream for so long. It’s always been a dream of my mum’s, so I think I got it from her. Every year, I have a calendar where I write down my goals, and it’s always on there. The speciality, for sure, will be coffee and a bakery with sourdough.

What would you name your café?

At first, I was thinking of something super original like ‘Café Emma’ because, in Denmark, it’s normal to call your café after your name. But then I thought maybe it was too much to name it after myself, so I don’t know, maybe something Spanish.

Do you prefer coffee over tea?

Coffee, every day. I try to stick to two because otherwise, it will get out of hand. But I always make it with the AeroPress or V60, so I like to take care of my coffee. If I cannot get a good one, I prefer not to have any.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Actually, technology. I don’t know why, but I am sick at it, like it just comes to me.

What song would you pick to sing for karaoke?

Westlife’s When You’re Looking Like That. I did this with my friend Julie, and we were so good.

People say women’s cycling has improved greatly over the past few years, but what’s something you think still needs changing?

It has improved a lot with the coverage of races, but I think the key is to improve on this even more. Almost every men’s race is shown, and I think it would be nice if the women had the same and not only the last 20 kilometres.

And finally, finish the sentence, happiness is...

Happiness is rest days, back home in sunny Denmark, having a coffee with my family. Perfect.

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