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Glen Leven: A mechanic with a cyclist's heart

One branch of the Trek-Segafredo bloodline has its origins in Luxembourg, and the team's association with cycling dynasties like the Schlecks and the Didiers is indelible. It has further links to the country through directeur sportif Kim Andersen, Danish by birth but a resident of the Grand Duchy since 1978, on and off, but also through ex-rider Glen Leven, a former national teammate of Andy Schleck and a mechanic with Trek-Segafredo and its antecedents since 2012.

Expansively multilingual, switching from French to English via German and Luxembourgian from sentence to sentence, Glen is a native of Luxembourg City but rode – indeed, still occasionally rides – for UC Dippach, the club associated with the legendary climber Charly Gaul, the winner of the 1958 Tour de France, and Giro d'Italia in 1956 and 1959. For a village with a population of 790, Dippach, in south-western Luxembourg, punches well above its weight. In recent years, the UC Dippach club President has been Henri Jungels, the father of pro rider Bob Jungels, and its head coach Lucien Didier, the father of Trek-Segafredo's Laurent Didier and the holder of one of the most remarkable records in the sport: during his career, between 1976 and 1984, he rode six Tours de France, two Giros d'Italia and one Vuelta a España. Not only did he finish them all, but his team leader, variously Bernard Hinault and Laurent Fignon, won every one of them.

Growing up in such surroundings, a young boy's thoughts naturally turn to a career in cycling. One year younger than Andy Schleck, two years younger than Laurent Didier. Glen rode through the age categories, which are organized in Luxembourg into two-year bands, with the extravagantly gifted, prolifically successful, older and more mature Andy as his rival. In 2008, after a difficult spell studying engineering in Cologne, Germany, Glen returned to Luxembourg and resumed his university studies while training like a professional and riding for his country.

“Andy was one of about four riders who were fixtures on the national team. I was more on the periphery, but I made the final six from time to time,” he says.

“On one of the first occasions we represented Luxembourg together, Andy asked me to go back for drinks. I had never collected bottles before, but I dropped back through the group to the team car and grabbed six bidons, which I put in my jersey. As I started back towards the head of the peloton, a climb started. I never made it to the front, but I didn't know what to do with the bottles. I still had them when I crossed the finish line. When Andy saw me, he said, 'What happened to the water?' I said, 'If you want some, it's here!'”

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Geschrieben von Dan HEIDERSCHEID, am 27.06.2017 um 22:02 Uhr.

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