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TR Press UK - 09-07-2017
Team Rynkeby team sends touching greeting to deceased team-mate
Team Rynkeby Southern Jutland lost its whip, map reader and entertainment captain to cancer this spring. But Thomas Haaning is still with the team all the way to Paris.
1st stage, en route to Kaltenkirchen: "We're not going home – we're going forward..." say the capital letters on the side of Team Rynkeby Southern Jutland's lorry.
The words are those of Thomas Haaning, who, despite being incurably ill from cancer, cycled the entire journey to Paris last year. And Thomas Haaning would have travelled to Paris with Team Rynkeby Southern Jutland this year, but the illness he lived with for two and a half years – and which he thought until the end that he would live with for many years to come – would end by taking his life this past spring. Thomas Haaning died peacefully in hospice this March, at 43 years of age.
"When the team was being put together last autumn I chatted with Thomas about the extent to which he wanted to be part of the team. He actually wanted to cycle, but he had to recognise that he didn't have the strength to do so. So the deal was that Thomas would be the map reader, whip, and entertainment captain," says Jacob Christian Nielsen, Team Manager of Team Rynkeby Southern Jutland.
"Thomas was a fantastic person. An incredible life-of-the-party type, and he really lifted the team. When people had long faces or were getting tired, it was always Thomas who took the plunge and injected some energy into the team – including by repeating his mantra: We're not going home – we're going forward...", he continues.
The team captain from Southern Jutland visited his always-optimistic friend in the hospice shortly before his death.
"He was an indomitable fighter. To the very last, he was enthusiastic about helping us get to Paris in one way or another. And in that way he actually triumphed over the cancer – it may be that the disease killed him, but it never broke him," explains Jacob Christian Nielsen.
When Thomas Haaning died, Team Rynkeby Southern Jutland, together with Thomas's family, decided that Thomas would naturally still be part of the team on their journey to Paris.
Team Rynkeby Southern Jutland has therefore decorated their cars and cycles with Thomas Haaning's picture and his mantra.
"Thomas is still here with us – and he's an important part of the team. He is the DNA of this team. He reminds us to remember to keep up our spirits and have fun while we're cycling. It means so much to have him with us like this. He really has a major place on this team, even though he isn't physically with us any more," says Jacob Christian Nielsen.
You can follow Team Rynkeby's Tour De Paris LIVE on www.team-rynkeby.com/LIVE.
The news you have just read was translated by Amesto Translations A/S.