Team Europe are set to unleash Danish star Magnus Ditlev at the Collins Cup in Šamorín this weekend, with teammate Daniel Bækkegård describing the 24-year-old as a ‘monster’.
Ditlev shocked the world at Challenge Roth by winning on just his second full-distance start, going toe-to-toe with the GOAT Jan Frodeno prior to the latter withdrawing through injury.
That victory earned Ditlev an impressive PTO rankings points tally and helped him qualify automatically for this weekend’s showpiece event.
“It was really after Challenge Roth that it struck me how crazy it was,” says Ditlev in the PTO’s latest video.
“People were asking me how I was feeling, and of course I told them it was just fantastic.
“Straight after the event I wasn’t able to comprehend it all, but I really didn’t understand it 100% until afterwards.”
The moniker of underdog is long gone after victory in Roth, and the humble Ditlev admits that there is added pressure on his shoulders heading into the Collins Cup.
“Sometimes you can get really caught up in feeling a lot of pressure and feeling that you have to deliver, sometimes it can feel a bit like you’re on your own.
“Because it is my first Collins Cup, naturally when you are a young guy like me going to such a big event for the first time, definitely very overwhelming I think, of course you don’t want to let Team Europe down.
“I feel like I belong here but you still have a desire to want to prove yourself.”
The special one?
Ditlev added: “Team Europe is a really competitive team, it can seem like a huge task. I don’t really, at the moment, think I am special, but perhaps that’s what makes me special.
“I am quite humble from my personality, I also have a strong inner belief. I try to be more the quiet killer. No matter what you get. you know you are going against the best guys in the world
“When I toe the line I know I have the abilities to go head-to-head against anyone, it doesn’t really matter too much to me who I am up against.”
As level-headed as Ditlev is, his teammates seem ultra-confident in the Dane’s abilities, with compatriot Bækkegård lavishing praise on the Challenge Roth victor as Team Europe aims for total domination in 2022.
Bækkegård explained: “We saw last time at the Collins Cup that Team Europe were challenged a bit, I can say that some of the athletes didn’t live up to expectations.
“We had a chat afterwards and we made it pretty clear how we want to race – we want to show our dominance.
“We know we have to change something, we know we have to bring in new blood, we have to bring in ‘the monster’.
“If he gets the chance, he’ll rip your legs off.”