BILBAO (VG) Today Otto Lauritzen (soon to be 67 years old) has received a letter from NAV. Retirement age is getting closer.
– Well, don’t say that then. I don’t want to be reminded of that!
Dag Otto Lauritzen smiled in frustration on the other side of the table. We were sitting in an outdoor cafe in downtown Bilbao. VG just noted that the popular TV 2 profile turns 67 years old in a few months.
That’s why he mentioned the letter from the NAV.
– “Sky and sea”, I thought opening it, he said.
Let it be said: Dag Otto Lauritzen had no plans to “retire.” He will continue on TV and he will continue to give lectures.
But after more than 30 editions of the Tour de France, he would soon end up as an external reporter in France.
– I’m thinking a year or two from my wife, Ellen, agreeing. The work I do here, others can do too, said Dag Otto Lauritzen.
He has four grandchildren aged one to five years. Lauritzen calls himself lucky: Everyone lives in Grimstad. Two of them called him “Dotto”. The other two use “grandfather”.
– I really appreciate being with my children and grandchildren. In the future, I will prioritize being able to fish with them, or sleeping in a tent. But I also want to work on this year’s Tour de France, because Uno-X has already started.
– Don’t you ever get bored?
– I don’t really do that, because it’s more than just work. We’re a tight-knit group, and I wouldn’t be doing it if I wasn’t enjoying it. But there’s no doubt that I’ve started thinking about other things, he admits.
It’s been 36 years since Lauritzen first cycled across the finish line at the top of the Luz Ardiden in the Pyrenees. He later became the first Norwegian to win a stage in the Tour de France.
He still trains up to four times a week. Lauritzen calls it “investing in your own health.”
– I usually say that age is just a number. But I feel in my body that it’s more than just a number. But I try to invest in my health by exercising. The fact that I work with younger people makes me a little bit younger in the head too. I have to be tough.
– How did you realize that you are getting old?
– I’m a little stiffer and run a little slower. Things are not as simple as 20 years ago. But because I invest in my health, I manage to stay in good shape in many ways.
He was talking about a group of friends in Grimstad. They cycled to Lillesand and drank coffee until the day before Lauritzen left for Spain and the Tour de France.
But he also talks seriously about growing old.
– The older you get, the tighter it gets.
He was aiming for death.
– There is no guarantee for anything. Many of the close friends I lost were healthy people who might be content with a glass of wine. They train and go hiking. For ten years, we were six fathers walking through Hardangervidda with our children at the start of Easter. Three of the six people have died. They were between 55 and 65 years old, Lauritzen said seriously.
A very good friend was buried in Kristiansand the day before this year’s Tour France. Lauritzen is in Spain and banned from participating.
He lit up when the topic of conversation with VG turned to sports. The fact that Uno-X participated in the Tour de France as the first Norwegian team is one of the reasons it took Lauritzen another year on French roads.
– Bringing the Norwegian team was really fun. It also changes our perspective a bit on TV 2. We’re not more people here, but we have a lot more to talk about than before, he said.
He agrees with VG’s claim that interest in cycling as a TV sport has declined in recent years.
– Without a doubt, he said.
– We were already at the trough, but now I really think that interest is growing again.
Lauritzen rolls his eyes when he talks about the speed and sprint characteristics of Søren Wærenskjold or climber Torstein Træen. Norwegian cycling is no longer just about winning flat sprints.
– The talent we have now has a completely different dimension than what we saw before. This is real quality. Unlike in some French and Spanish teams, where they like to take riders who don’t really follow, said Lauritzen.
– Tour de France day ends: How will you be at home next summer?
– I wish I understood that it was an over chapter. I might be going on the Tour de France, but I’m looking forward to going fishing with my kids and grandkids, or walking in the mountains.
– And of course I want to pay more attention to my wife, Ellen, than I have done so far, said Dag Otto Lauritzen.
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