Hardly anyone in Norway could avoid hearing about the Norwegian triumphs in Tour de France with athletes such as Thor Hushovd and Edvald Boasson Hagen. However, many people may be unaware that Canadian cyclist, Ryder Hesjedal, also is of Norwegian heritage.
You may ask, why write about this here? But, Ryder Hesjedal is one of “our people” and here is the rest of the story: His great-grandmother was Hans Petter Olsen Lillejord’s grand-daughter. Her name was Hanna Ingebriktsdtr. She emigrated from Beiarn in the early 1900’s and joined relatives in Minnesota. There, she met Mons Hesjedal, he was from Stamnes, just north of the Norwegian city of Bergen. They married in 1909 and later moved to Saskatchewan in Canada, where they had 7 children. One of them was Ruben, born in 1919. His son, Leonard, was born in 1950. Leonard’s son, Eric Ryder, was born in 1980 and he is racing in Tour de France with his fellow Norwegians, Hushovd and Boasson Hagen.
The last few days we have had more than 30 hits on our website for “Ryder Hesjedal Norway” or similar key words, so we wanted to tell the story and let you know the connection to the Lillejord family.