LITTLE BIG PORTRAIT of THOR HUSHOVD
After an international cycling career, which resulted in a World Championship title in 2010, the Norwegian cyclist Thor Hushovd retired from cycling in 2014. He lives in Monaco with his wife and their two children. We caught up with the cycling legend to ask him about his life after cycling and his favourite places in Monaco.
During his 15 year long career in professional cycling, Thor was considered to be one of the most prominent and consistent riders, which is today evidenced by a long list of titles and achievements such as 10 stage wins, 10 days as the overall race leader (yellow jersey) and twice winner of the points competition (green jersey) at the Tour de France, as well as the remarkable World Championship title- the “rainbow jersey” in 2010.
World Champion at 10!
Thor was born in Grimstad, a small town on the southern coast of Norway. Harbouring a passion for cycling at an early age, partly inspired by his older brother who was also a cyclist, he took up competitive cycling at 10 and the very same year went on to secure the junior world championship title by winning a 5km time trial. Time-trials and speed remained his passion and strengths throughout his career and he eventually took up the role as sprinter in each of the teams he rode for. Although he has often been nicknamed “The Bull from Grimstad” or “The God of Thunder” during his cycling years (partly because of his racing style, partly because of his name), off the bike he comes across as rather soft spoken and of a very calm nature “I think my composure has probably been an asset in my career as it has helped me to focus and recover from set backs, which is so important for any competitive sport” - he tells us.
Heroes of Tomorrow
Since he quit cycling 3 years ago, Thor has been involved in various ventures, many based in Norway, which means that he spends a lot of time travelling. His most recent project is Statoil's "Heroes of Tomorrow" sponsorship programm for young, promising achievers in the fields of sports, culture and education. His main role is to share his in-depth knowledge of professional cycling, the physical and mental training it requires (including daily routines such as a regimented diet)and to help the younger generation to find motivation for such a hard and ultimately individual sport. Whilst Thor believes sport is essential in life, he insists education should always come first. "I really believe education should be the most important priority for young people so whenever I have the opportunity to work with young athletes, I always remind them of that." he says.
Healthy and Active life
Thor is also an ambassador for the World Championship in Bergen, Norway 2017. Considering his passion for speed it may come as no surprise that his other great interest is sports cars, particularly Porsche. In fact, he bought his first Porsche when he was 19 and since then his passion has never stopped. Whilst Thor admits to be missing his hometown during the summer months, especially his house in Grimstad with its idyllic location by the sea, he tells us that he does enjoy living in Monaco where the sunny climate favours cycling and a healthy active outdoor life. "I think Monaco is a great place to raise my kids. It's safe, the schools are good and it's very international", he adds. And we couldn't agree more!
OUR QUESTIONS TO THOR HUSHOVD
Which place do you find the most inspiring in Monaco?
I enjoy running and one of my favourite places to do so is by the path along the sea that leads from the Monte-Carlo Country Club towards Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Another favourite place is "Tête de Chien" in La Turbie with its beautiful views. I also never get bored of the beach at Larvotto.
Your favourite restaurants ?
At Larvotto I usually eat at "La Note Bleue". I like the food there but also the jazzy atmosphere. My other favourites are Nobu for sushi and the Beef Bar for steaks.
A secret to stay in shape?
I love riding my bike and although I am quite busy I try to go for a ride as often as I can. I also train regularly at the gym at the Monte Carlo Country Club, I play paddle with friends and I try to keep a healthy diet.
Your secret addresses to share with our Little Big Monaco reader?
I recently discovered the Restaurant and Spa at the Odeon Tower which I find one of the most relaxing places. One of my favourite places for a coffee is still the legendary Planet Cafe at Place Moulins.
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