By Jean-François Quénet in Salzburg
Sport fans who don't only follow cycling may have wondered if Knut Anders Fostervold representing Norway at the time trial world's in Salzburg had anything to do with the former soccer player from Molde FK, who played in the Champion's League in 1999. He's actually the same athlete.
Aged 35, he took up cycling after a bad knee injury that interrupted his soccer career four years ago. "I cycled for fun for two years, then I started doing it seriously last year and I came third twice at the Norwegian time trial championship," he explained before taking part in the world championship for the first time. "Thor Hushovd and Kurt-Asle Arvesen didn't want to ride the time trial, so they decided to give me a chance of doing it."
Arvesen, who hails from the outskirts of Molde, is actually Fostervold's personal advisor. "I need to learn how to cycle, I'm a junior", the former soccer star said. "If my results improve, I'll try to qualify for the Olympics in Beijing. That will depend on my family also." He's married with four kids, all boys between 3 and 11. "For now, they aren't soccer players nor cyclists."
Fostervold has amazed Norwegian sport scientists with his VO2Max of 94. In Norway, only eight times Olympic gold medalist for cross country skiing Bjorn Daehlie scored more at the labs with 96. Today in Salzburg, he finished in 43rd, one position ahead of Tour de France rider Benoît Vaugrenard. When the head coach of Norwegian cycling Sven Gaute Holestol completed the course driving behind him, he was impressed by his margin of improvement. "Only with taking curves like a proper cyclist, he can ride one minute faster", he commented.
Fostervold is fascinated by his second sports career. Coming from a sport where money is flowing, he has no intention to make any in cycling. "This is just a challenge for the love of the sport", he said. He already achieved something unreal when he played vs the mega stars from Real Madrid, the likes of Roberto Carlos, Raul and Christian Karembeu. Molde FK was a surprise in the Champion's League group containing also Olympiakos and Porto after they defeated CSKA Moscow in the preliminary tournament.