RIDER ROUND-UP: NICKI PEDERSEN
In the first edition of this year’s SGP Rider Round-up, Danish icon Nicki Pedersen tells us about his recent brush with royalty and life in the sun.
The triple world champion may have endured a tough 2016 FIM Speedway Grand Prix series, culminating in him missing the final three rounds following a crash at the Golden Helmet meeting in Pardubice on September 18.
But he still had cause for celebration after storming to the Speedway European Championship at Rybnik the night before his season-ending crash.
"I tried to get back to normal life and enjoy it. We went on a few vacations and that was good. Other than that, I was spending time with family. I also took care of things for the new season while I had time."
- Nicki Pedersen
This success and being one of the nation’s speedway legends saw Pedersen invited to the Sport 2016 gala on January 7, where he met up with HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.
“Of course, I have met him a few times before,” Pedersen said. “We always enjoy things like this and it’s definitely something I have to be proud of … just for my sport. I enjoy being an ambassador for our sport.”
Pedersen also handed over an award to Denmark’s Olympic handball champions. “I did the presentation and speech for the handball guys, who won sportsmen of the year,” he said.
“Among them was Mikkel Hansen. He has been the world’s best player over the last couple of years. The sport is huge all over Europe, except for in Britain. I don’t know what’s going on there! It’s huge in France, Spain, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Denmark and Italy.”
Pedersen has been on the sidelines since his Czech tumble, but hasn’t been kicking his heels. As well as doing what he could to prepare for 2017, he has also been enjoying the high life in the Maldives and Dubai with partner Helene Huttmann.
The Monaco-based star said: “I tried to get back to normal life and enjoy it. We went on a few vacations and that was good. Other than that, I was spending time with family. I also took care of things for the new season while I had time.
“We decided to go to the Maldives for eight days and then we went back to Dubai and spent another eight days there.
“Dubai is not that far away. You’ve got places to go, the shopping centres and the weather is fantastic all the time. It’s never raining there. It’s always nice and warm and the facilities and quality is really high.
“Then we went back to Monaco for Happy New Year. Last year we had that in Dubai, so this year we wanted to do it in Monaco.”
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