It's a little cold this morning, cold and grey, but Copenhagen is buzzing. The traffic is intense and it feels as if road works are everywhere.
One train after another departs from Østerbro Station, the hum of iron on rail cutting through the air.
The city still looks a little sad after a long winter, but there is beauty in Copenhagen, even in chilly, grey February.
Mikael Kyneb’s mansion apartment is in the centre of the city. It is his home and his base - both as a family man and as a therapist. Relaxing music accentuates the peace here, masking the hum of the city.
Mikael is a former professional cyclist. This is evident from the moment you step through the front door. It is clear that cycling still has an important place in his life.
In the entrance hall hangs a pink jersey worn by Alberto Contador during his victorious 2015 Giro d’italia. The jersey is signed by every Team Saxo Bank rider. Mikael was a therapist for the team that year and he also treated Alberto intensely throughout the Giro - playing a crucial role in the team's success.
Mikael's apartment is quiet, peaceful and in balance. Bright and high ceilings with family photos everywhere, memorable objects precisely arranged. It’s a stark contrast to Mikael's own upbringing.
His childhood was anything but that. Everyday life was marked by insecurity, violence, alcohol and threats. With an alcoholic father and domestic violence a daily feature, he was always on his guard.
He hid his troubled life well - he put on a brave face and came across as a happy boy. The reality was completely different. He hid his feelings so completely that he does not remember much from the first 10 years of his childhood.
Today Mikael has picked up fresh bread at the local bakery. Over coffee, he makes no secret of his past. After all those years of hiding what happened, he now believes telling the story is an important part of the process, to allow him to more easily forgive those who need to be forgiven.
In the middle of the living room stands his road bike. Black, classic geometry - and without a bicycle computer. Classic brakes and no electronic gearing - understated.
“Cycling really became a lifeline for me,” Mikael explains. “Coming from something that was dysfunctional in my childhood, a difficult childhood - cycling was a way out of the darkness."
He had previously played football, and was actually very good, but in many ways it was easier to achieve success as a cyclist. On the bike, it was solely himself who decided the result - and that was an important factor to him.
In addition, the country roads were a free space for him, a way to become one with nature. There was no one to scold him, or beat him. Out there, the fight was exclusively against himself.
He had a talent for cycling, and so many victories came from it. In 1997, Mikael turned professional, the following year he secured 14 victories as an amateur. He was immediately hailed a rising star - ready to step into the shoes of fellow countrymen Bjarne Riis and Rolf Sørensen. He moved to Belgium and learned how to race the hard way.
Mikael spent five years as a professional, ending his career at Team Home-Jack & Jones and Team Fakta.
It’s a career he is proud of, but which was unfortunately also marred by injury. He had to have surgery on his knee six times, before finally putting the racing on standby at the age of 29.
When he talks about his career, you can clearly see that he would have loved to have continued - and perhaps most of all ridden a Grand Tour.
"But that's not how it turned out, and that's how it must be," he shrugs.
After his career, he continued on the cycling team, helping to secure sponsors, equipment and riders. It was an exciting but stressful job.
“We were always behind on the cycling team. We always lacked money for the next paycheck, the next plane ticket - and I had to fix it all at the last minute.”
Mikael quickly found out that he wasn’t suited to this role. He was in too deep and became overwhelmed. It came to a head one night before a presentation of the new cycling team, and he blacked out.
He got through the presentation, but he resigned the following day. He needed to do something different with his life.
Throughout the last fateful part of his career, Mikael had been treated by Body SDS therapist Ole Kåre Frøli. Mikael formed a bond with Ole, and he also became fascinated by the potential of physical therapy.
Mikael's knee was too far gone for him to even contemplate a return to elite level racing, but the treatments he received sparked a new focus - in the human body.
“And in that way, cycling has been like a giant springboard. To go from being an athlete to coming out on the other side and being treated, but still something about looking at people,” says Mikael.
After leaving the cycling team, Mikael decided to train first as a physiotherapist and then later as a Body SDS therapist.
This career change may not have been in the cards, but you quickly sense when you are with Mikael that he has a rare presence and calm. He is incredibly good at listening and at sensing people.
A client has arrived. He pours a glass of water and calmly waits for Mikael to prepare. Mikael asks if he is generally tired and if he is in any pain. The client takes off his outerwear and lies on the couch.
"The body never lies - and the body has its own language," Mikael says.
He makes no secret of the fact that for many years he has had difficulty looking at himself in the mirror. He has had a hard time daring to live fearlessly, but courage has come with age.
He is in no doubt that his body and mind remain affected by his insecure childhood and his fears.
“One cannot separate the psyche from the body, whether you’re an athlete or a top manager. The body and the mind are connected ”.
After a short hour, the treatment is complete. The client gets up from the couch, dresses - and says goodbye.
Currently, Mikael is writing a book about his background, his childhood, cycling and his views on life and the mind. Titled When the chain jumped off , this is a project that has taken many hours. You do get a sense that he has something to share.
Today, Mikael still treats some of the world's elite cyclists, among them former world champion Mads Pedersen.
In the kitchen, Mikael cleans up after breakfast and makes a quick smoothie for his daughter, while reflecting on his collaboration with young riders.
“How can I both treat and also be a kind of life mentor to them? Actually, I have received so many ups and downs, from the sport and in life. I can use these experiences as a therapist.
These young athletes are actually huge talents. Imagine if you could play a little part in helping them become whole people. Then I think that with what I do today, I have landed on the right shelf.” says Mikael.
It's about noon and Mikael has a break between treatments. He rarely has more than four treatments in a day. He gives a lot of himself and also needs free space for himself.
This is where cycling comes into the picture again. He dresses. Several layers, to keep out today’s cold wind.
“These days I cycle maybe two or three times per week. It is a space of freedom for me now. I do not cycle that far - a few hours on a bike ride today makes a huge difference. I like the fact that it is no longer. ”
While he is riding out of Copenhagen, we try to keep up with Mikael. He rides along Strandvejen while we try to fight our way through the traffic.
His stature and his position on the bike speak for themselves, reflecting his time as a professional.
After 10 kilometres we leave Copenhagen and turn off at Strandvejen and into the area around Dyrehaven.
No cars now, only nature in the raw.
At this very moment, it is completely unique out here. The brown shades sit in stark contrast to the green of spring - which will soon take over.
There are not many riders on the road at this time, and right here Mikael feels free. Just as he did on his training trips as a youth rider in Hobro or the very long trips in Luxembourg as a professional.
“I like riding out without a specific goal. Do I want to ride along Strandvejen, or do I want to ride through nature?
At my girlfriend's I can drive up the North Coast Path. You have the freedom to choose, I really like that.
So for me, being out on the bike today feels like meditation. ”
After a few hours on the road, Mikael heads back towards Copenhagen. Back to a new client.
Ready to treat body and mind ...