It was the culmination of a cycling career that, among other things, won Olympic and World Cup medals, while also becoming a top position in the Tour de France.
On Wednesday 5 May, Leif Mortensen turns 75 years old.
Leif Mortensen was a popular athlete in Denmark because he often appeared modest and friendly. Hence the nickname. But also because he was a natural talent on the bike.
The young machine worker proved this when he secured Denmark a silver medal in road racing at the Olympics in Mexico City in 1968.
The following year, he had the big breakthrough of his career, when he ran away from everything and everyone at the World Amateur Championships, drove alone the last 25 kilometers and won. The triumph led to a professional contract.
The amateur medal was exchanged for one of a professional nature in 1970. Here he finished second at the World Cup in England after the Belgian Jean-Pierre Monseré.
When the talk today falls on Leif Mortensen, his sixth place in the Tour de France in 1971 is often highlighted as something special.
Until the 1990s, it was the best Danish placement in the world’s largest stage race, and the performance is still only surpassed by Bjarne Riis.
It also turned into an overall victory in the Tour of Belgium and a stage victory in Paris-Nice over the legend Eddy Merckx for Leif Mortensen.
– I think I’ve had a good career. I enjoy thinking back on it and I think it was a good time, he says.
Since stopping his career, Leif Mortensen has, among other things, been chairman of the childhood club CC Gladsaxe, coach of Denmark’s national team and expert commentator on several bicycle races on television.
Today he spends a lot of time with his girlfriend Linda in the house in Rørvig.
He also still jumps on the bike from time to time, if he is not just working on a hobby project in the cottage.
Source: The Nordic Page