Tribute to teenage cyclist killed in crash in Bretherton

Lewis Balyckyi
Image caption Lewis Balyckyi was due to travel to France next month to cycle with a semi-pro team

The family of a teenage cycling champion who was killed when his bike collided with a van in Lancashire have paid tribute to him.

Lewis Balyckyi, 18, from Walton-le-Dale, was cycling along North Road at about 1700 GMT on Tuesday when his bike and a Ford Transit van collided.

The emergency services were called but he died at the scene.

His family said Lewis, who in 2008 was the Under 16 National Circuit Race Champion, was "every parent's dream".

His father, Kevin Balyckyi, said on behalf of his family: "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.

Lewis was due to travel to France next month after gaining a place with a French semi-professional team.

Mr Balyckyi added: "Sadly this was snatched away in an instant less than five miles away from home when he was doing what he loved - riding his bike.

"Myself, his mum and his sister are absolutely devastated, along with the rest of his family and friends.

"We have been left with a massive hole in our lives that will never be filled."

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