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TR Press UK - 16-07-2016
Celebrating 80 years in Paris
At the age of 79 years and 364 days, Laurits Tørnæs is the oldest cyclist to ever complete Team Rynkeby's Tour de Paris. On Sunday, he will celebrate his 80th birthday with his family in the French capital.
Stage 7, Soissons: Over the past 7 days, Laurits Tørnæs and his team-mates on Team Rynkeby Ringe have put no less than 1,148 km behind them cycling from Denmark to Soissons.
This morning, the cyclists saddled up to ride the last 109 km into Paris, where this year's charity cycling tour to raise money for children with cancer will conclude with a major event in the north-eastern corner of the city.
And Laurits Tørnæs will continue the festivities tomorrow.
That's because the retired skipper and minister will be celebrating his 80th birthday with his family in the French capital.
"It's only because of the team and their willingness to drag me along on the tour that I'm able to celebrate my birthday in Paris. "I don't think many other people have the experience of celebrating their 80th birthday in Paris after cycling here all the way from Denmark," says Laurits Tørnæs, standing in front of Team Rynkeby Ringe's hotel after the 166-kilometre-long Stage 6.
This year marks the ninth time that Laurits Tørnæs is cycling from Denmark to Paris with Team Rynkeby Ringe. The first occasion was in 2005.
"Each tour has been a fantastic experience. "When you've cycled in many tours, you realise that each tour is very different. "Partly because of the different routes, but also because of the different people on each tour. "And that makes each tour into a brand-new experience," says Laurits Tørnæs.
"Team Rynkeby is a fantastic concept that offers wonderful experiences. "You get a lot of exercise, and you also get amazing comradeship. "And we're out there supporting a great cause, so it just doesn't get any better," says Laurits Tørnæs.
Cycling with just one leg
Back in 1968, Laurits Tørnæs was hit by a car at a pedestrian crossing in the Netherlands. The accident was so serious that Laurits Tørnæs had his leg in a cast for two-and-a-half years, with permanent leg stiffness as a consequence. That means that he can only pedal with his right leg when he cycles.
And he's also beginning to feel the effects of his age.
"I can certainly feel that I'm no spring chicken any more. "I used to be able to give the young women a push when they needed a little help, but it's a bit harder today. "I'm almost to the point where I need a little help myself now and then," says Laurits Tørnæs who, despite his age, won't rule out participating in the Team Rynkeby field again next year.
"You're supposed to be careful what you wish for, but the experience this year has been so wonderful that I could definitely be very enthusiastic about riding again next year," he says.
Follow Team Rynkeby's final stage live on www.team-rynkeby.com/live.
The news you have just read was translated by Amesto Translations A/S.