Tribute to young cycling star killed in crash

THE father of a promising teenage cycling champion who was knocked off his bike and killed in a road collision said yesterday he was "every parent's dream".

Lewis Balyckyi, 18, from Walton-le-Dale, near Preston, Lancs, died when he was involved in a crash with a Ford Transit van near Leyland on Tuesday.

He became the Under-16 National Circuit Race champion in 2008 and was due to compete in a French semi-professional team from next month.

His father Kevin said: "Lewis was every parent's dream, he never had a frown on his face, always laughing. Whenever he was around, the people he was with were uplifted and always felt better for the experience. His cheeky smile winning even the sternest of people over.

"He was a fighter from the moment he was born eight weeks prematurely, he blossomed into the strapping man that he was, the fittest person I knew, and a resolve like no other.

"From the age of eight he raced his cycle all over the country, discovering a flair for winning that inspired his competitors to push themselves harder than they ever thought possible."

He added: "In 2008 he achieved his goal, becoming Under-16 National Circuit Race champion from a field of over 70 of the best riders in the country. From there he was a founding member of Team Wallis, where he enjoyed more success."