Thinking of his late father

NYBORG (VG) Just months after Leif Erik’s father died, Sven Erik Bystrøm (30) is having one of his best days in a bicycle seat.

ON THE PODIUM: Sven Erik Bystrm.

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On Saturday, Bystrm was named the most offensive driver of the day and was honored with a trip to the podium at the Tour de France, having broken 17 miles, three of which were solo.

– It’s quite emotional to cycle here. “My father came with me to this area when I was 14-15 years old,” said Haugesunder as he rolled onto the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team bus at 6pm on a Saturday night.

The father then came to watch his son compete in the Danish Youth Tour.

– I was thinking about him all the way. That’s special. But it’s a very good thing, Bystrm told VG.

30 years old it is clear that his father means a lot to him.

– He is the one who introduced me to sports, and he supports me in everything related to cycling. I moved and to Stavanger when I was 16 years old. You have to have a pretty dedicated dad who wants the best for you in the sport if you want to get support for something like this. And I’m very grateful for that. He agreed that I should try to find my luck in cycling, and that I should then move into a more professional environment at Stavanger.

GO SOLO: Bystrm strikes solo with six miles to go and holds back until there are more than three miles left on stage.

Ahead of VG, he places his experience in the top five over a career that includes, among other things WC Gold in the U23 class.

– This is cool for Sven Erik. He had experienced a lot of bad luck, and many things had happened in his life. So it was good for him to show himself early in the race, said Wanty boss Aike Visbeek to VG in Nyborg, Denmark.

After the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race in March, Bystrm received a message that turned his life upside down:

– It came suddenly. He, admittedly, struggled a bit with his previous illness, but has recovered. And then the heart attack came unexpectedly, said Bystrm, who had spoken of losing his father Bike magazine previously.

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Leif Erik Bystrm died of a heart attack and was only 64 years old. According to Sykkelmagasinet, he is keeping up with cycling developments and being a good supporter for his son.

Bystrm returns home for the funeral and mourns, only to find that he himself has fallen ill – and the illness has not gone away.

– The season started well, but then came death. I went straight home and was with my family, but then I caught a cold that kept me from cycling for three long weeks. That’s why we ended the classic season. I ended up getting a month of training, but then a knee injury appeared which kept me off the bike for another three weeks.

– There was a lot of pressure this year. That’s why the lift was chosen for the Tour de France at the last minute, and then what happened today.

Four months later, Bystrm was at full speed in the first attempt of the day to break through. In the end it was just him and Denmark’s Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF) in front. The latter had the upper hand when both had to settle for climbing points that would award a polka dot jersey on the Tour.

– Nice feet, but I knew it would be difficult when Cort Nielsen sat there. He runs and climbs well, and is also a local Danish racer. But I got a small bonus with the most aggressive rider award, Bystrm told VG.

BATTLE FOR THE CLIMBING JERSEY: Sven Erik Bystrm and Magnus Cort measure their strength in the Danish hill sprint. There the Danes were the nicest.

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– Did you try again during the Tour?

– I’ll try again. Alex (Kristoff) may have to rally too, but there are 19 stages left, and a chance to do both. “In this team, I get opportunities that I wouldn’t have in the UAE,” Bystrøm said – referring to the team he and Kristoff rode until this year’s season, he said.

Team manager Aike Visbeek said the 30-year-old Norwegian will have a variety of duties outside of this year’s Tour:

– Tomorrow there is full focus on the sprint, and then on the classic stage. The role of Sven Erik is now the main attraction for Alexander. The stage at which Sven Erik can try himself is a little further on the Tour de France, he said.

Henrietta Fairbank

"Amateur analyst. Zombie geek. Hardcore troublemaker. Internet expert. Incurable twitter fanatic."

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